Druther


Language specialist Edgar Knowlton writes "My 10th edition Concise Oxford Dictionary gives "druther", meaning one's preference, supposedly from US pronunciation of " I'd rather" RH Then the Oxford Dictionary should get its act together. The large OED gives "druther" and explains: "U.S. dialectal alteration of (I, you, etc.) would rather. Hence druther(s), ruther(s), a choice, preference.

1876 [see <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry_main//cgi/crossref?query_type=word&queryword=druther&edition=2e&first=1&max_to_show=10&single=1&sort_type=alpha&xrefed=OED&xrefword=dern&ps=a.>DERN a.]. 1895 Dialect Notes I. 388 Bein's I caint have my druthers an' set still, I cal'late I'd better pearten up an' go 'long. 1896 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry_main//help/bib/oed2-t2.html#mark-twain>ŒMARK TWAIN‚ Tom Sawyer, Detective ix. 74 ŒAny way you druther have it, that is the way I druther have it. ‚ ŒThere ain't any druthers about it, Huck Finn; nobody said anything about druthers.‚ 1941 W. A. PERCY Lanterns on Levee (1948) xxii. 292 ŒYour ruthers is my ruthers' (what you would rather is what I would rather). Certainly the most amiable and appeasing phrase in any language, the language used being not English but deep Southern".

RH: Webster does not even recognize the word. Apparently deep Southern is not English!

Randy Black quotes Mark Twain, who liked "druther" and gave this bad advice: "
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like and do what you'd druther not".

Randy Black quoted Mark Twain, who liked "druther" and gave this bad advice: "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like and do what you'd druther not". Gene Franklin comments: "I have no standing to contradict Twain but surely the construction should have been either "...you'd ruther not." or "...you druther not." Similar advice was given by Alexander Woolcott: " All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."

September 8, 2004

Ronald Hilton -


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