Blow smoke up one's ass

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Syzygys, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Syzygys

    Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you

    Best explanation of a phrase ever:



    ""The phrase "blowing smoke", meaning to deceive and/or distract, has been around for years. The "up ones ass" part is a fairly new addition. The origin of the "blowing smoke" part is from stage magic, where magicians use smoke to hide their actions or to distract the audience. So if your actions were meant to distract or deceive, you were said to be blowing smoke. Of course, anyone who studies American slang knows that pretty much any phrase can be improved by adding a reference to someones ass, so I suppose it's inevitable the that is where the smoke would eventually be blown."
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  2. Fraggle Rocker

    Fraggle Rocker Moderator

    The intestinal walls are built to facilitate osmosis; that's how they absorb the nutrients in food. For chemicals that don't need to be broken down by digestion in the stomach, such as drugs, an enema can be a much faster way to get them into the bloodstream than ingestion. An enema with really high-proof liquor will get a person drunk almost instantly. So it's not unbelievable that in the past enemas were used for all sorts of bizarre purposes.

    The Urban Dictionary gives an alternative explanation. It states that in the 16th century forcing smoke into a person's rectum was a technique for determining if they were dead. A live person would react.

    AnswerBag provides yet another one: In WWI, snipers would shoot at any enemy troops they could see above the trenchline. The Allies began using dummies to draw fire, and then shoot at the muzzle flash. The Germans got wise and began waiting for signs of life before firing. The Allies one-upped them by running a tube up through the dummy into its mouth. They'd blow smoke into the tube, which would come out the mouth, making it look like a real person smoking and drawing the enemy's fire. So, according to this tale, "Don't blow smoke up my ass" means "Don't make me out to be a dummy."
  3. Asguard

    Asguard Kiss my dark side

    FR thats wrong, had nothing to do with determing if they were dead. it was one of the old resus techniques tried out which eventually lead to CPR and current resus guidelines.

    tobacco smoke (specifically nicatine) DOES increase heart rate. oviously its not as effective as adrenilin but it does do it. as you mentioned perirectal is a valid rought of drug administration and IV (the fastest depending on target sitw) wasnt as common. there for in a bradicardic arest it MIGHT actually help at least until moden techniques and drugs became available
  4. Syzygys

    Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you

    Hey FR, that's a pretty good explanation! (even if not true) One would think it is relative easy to find out when the phrase was first used. before or after WWI....
  5. Fraggle Rocker

    Fraggle Rocker Moderator

    How old are these techniques? They were talking about several centuries ago, when tobacco was relatively new. I think all they wanted to know was whether they could toss the body on the wagon and take it away.
    Google away! I haven't been able to find it. I certainly never heard it as recently as the 1960s, when American English was knee deep in vulgar idioms. I vote for the more prosaic etymology, that it's just a juxtaposition of "blowing smoke," meaning "using vague words for deception," with "up/out the ass/kazoo/wazoo," an intensifier that we did use in the 1960s and probably goes back at least to WWII, when many vulgar idioms originated.
  6. Asguard

    Asguard Kiss my dark side

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