Jan 9, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I've always loved history and trivia, all kinds of trivia from ancient times to more modern fare and the other day... whilst I was sitting at my desk pondering a post from a fellow blogger...an image and the line "I'm your huckleberry..." (from the movie "Tombstone" with Val Kilmer) popped into my head. Had absolutely nothing to do with what I had been reading so I'm not sure why it came to mind but I thought I'd find out just why this particular movie phrase found it's way into my head...




"Huckleberry" was commonly used in the 1800's in conjunction with "persimmon" as a small unit of measure. "I'm a huckleberry over your persimmon" meant "I'm just a bit better than you." As a result, "huckleberry" came to denote idiomatically two things... First, it denoted a small unit of measure, a "tad," as it were, and a person who was a huckleberry could be a small, unimportant person--usually expressed ironically in mock self-depreciation. 



The second and more common usage came to mean, in the words of the "Dictionary of American Slang: Second Supplemented Edition" (Crowell, 1975):
"A man, (specifically) the exact kind of man needed for a particular purpose.
The "Historical Dictionary of American Slang" which is a multivolume work, has about a third of a column of citations documenting this meaning all through the latter 19th century.


So "I'm your huckleberry" means "I'm just the man you're looking for!"








6 comments:

Angela said...

Ya know, despite the whole tuberculosis aspect....he was hot. He can be my huckleberry!!

And thanks for this post. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean lol.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I bet Huckleberry Finn was named for the 2nd definition and Huckleberry Hound for the 1st!

Moncha said...

It's great to learn about certain slang in the American language. Being Dutch it is always nice to know what something means when it is said in a movie, which I watch in the native language, without the sub titles. Thank you !!!

Fire Lyte said...

Excellent research, Liz, and superb usage of the word 'idiomatically'!

FL

Rue said...

I love that you tracked this down! I never knew what it meant, but I'm with Angela on this one - Val was a mighty fine gunslinger in that movie!

Sorrow said...

I love the taste of Huckleberry wine, and My neighbor way back always used that turn of phrase!
don't that beat all?
Laughing