It’s time to get a grip on your communications, isn’t it?
The English language can be difficult, I know. But there’s a certain pet peeve of mine we’re going to dive into today. It’s all about the word “butt.” And it’s not about starting a sentence with it. I’m talking about butts—B-U-T-T-S—that shouldn’t be there.
What are you walking into here? Keep listening to find out.
Season 2, Episode 3 – “Butts” Where They Shouldn’t Be (i.e., Expressions you should really handle better)
Something we really need to nip in the bud is the typo “nip in the butt.” I promise you, that’s not the correct version of this idiom.
This expression goes back to gardening. If you’re trimming back something problematic, you nip it in the bud, removing the buds before they grew into something bigger, wilder, havoc-wreaking, and generally other than what you wanted.
Are your roses getting out of hand? Are your strawberries taking over the rest of the garden? Is that Virginia Creeper strangling the life out of everything?
You know what you need to do about that? Nip it in the bud.
The phrase “nip it in the bud” as we know it today, meaning to stop something before it grows into a bigger problem, has been used since at least the early 1600s. I don’t know when the confusion set in, but it certainly has. You’ll commonly find this phrase written as “nix it in the bud” and “nix it in the butt,” as well as the ever popular “nip it in the butt,” but none of these are the correct form.
We’re not talking anatomy. We’re talking flowers, folks. Let’s take the time to get this one right.
I’m just saying, folks, there are a lot of butts where they shouldn’t be. And I’m not talking about politics or seating arrangements.
Just like “nip it in the bud,” the expression “buck naked” is often misspoken and mistyped with a reference to the buttocks that simply isn’t there.
But—with one “t”—to be completely clear, there should be no references to a tush, fanny, derriere, rump, backside, or badonkadonk in either of these phrases.
To be “buck naked” is to be completely naked. If you were only “butt naked,” maybe you’d just be without pants. I could take this way further, but I’m going to stop here. You’re welcome.
The popularity of “butt naked” seems to be growing, especially on the web, but just because you see it all over the place doesn’t mean that it’s the truth. Oops, I stumbled into politics again.
In conclusion, you know I have to note that this isn’t an expression that you should use in any formal correspondence, but whenever you do happen to use it, please take the time to get “buck naked” right.
Be honest. Have you ever gotten this wrong? It’s okay. I won’t tell. But now you can do better.
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Words. Language. Communications. You’ve got this.