Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 04-29-2007, 11:43 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
Posts: 13,700
Origin of 'intestinal fortitude'

I first heard this phrase in the mid 70s. Any clues on earlier use?
#2
Old 04-30-2007, 12:05 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 3,584
I found three cites that attribute its coinage to Dr. John Wilce, a football coach and professor of clinical medicine at Ohio State University. Wikipedia (I know, I know, but bear with me) dates its first public use to a lecture he gave in 1916; in his paper, "Jacques and the Fat Man: Physical Culture and the Abdomen in Modern France" (warning - PDF file), Christopher Forth, of the Australian National University, cites its first use "by John Wilce sometime after 1913", and in American Speech, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Oct., 1955), Tom Burns Haber said, "the euphemism has been in existence for about four decades", which would place its first use around 1915.
#3
Old 04-30-2007, 12:10 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 29,313
From Wiki
Quote:
John Woodworth Wilce (May 12, 1888 — May 17, 1963) was a coach of American football at the Ohio State University, a physician, and a university professor....

Wilce's "combination of medicine and football," and a sense of propriety that reflected his English heritage and led him to try to reform the speech of his players on and off the field, led him to coin the phrase "intestinal fortitude." Haber (1955) records the story of the coinage—the idea first coming to Dr. Wilce on the way to the lecture he was about to present on anatomy and physiology at Ohio State in 1916, his first use of the phrase in public (in a lecture to his team), and how he began to hear the phrase used by others.
The Origin of 'Intestinal Fortitude' Tom Burns Haber
American Speech, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Oct., 1955), pp. 235-237


samclem may have access to the complete article.
#4
Old 04-30-2007, 12:13 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
Posts: 13,700
Hmm. . . much earlier than I would have expected. Thanks.
#5
Old 04-30-2007, 07:19 AM
Graphite is a great
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,550
I think the others have pretty well nailed it. The only thing I can add is that it starts to get into the popular newspapers only around 1926-28.
#6
Old 04-30-2007, 07:33 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 4,887
I use the phrase intestinal fortitude as a less vulgar form of the word guts, in the sense of courage, bravery.

How much older is guts in this sense than intestinal fortitude?

Si
#7
Old 04-30-2007, 08:22 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,331
Quote:
Originally Posted by si_blakely
I use the phrase intestinal fortitude as a less vulgar form of the word guts, in the sense of courage, bravery.

How much older is guts in this sense than intestinal fortitude?

Si
That's the way I've always heard it, as a euphemism for "guts," when the context calls for a term less colloquial or vulgar.
#8
Old 04-30-2007, 08:03 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: SEC
Posts: 13,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by si_blakely
I use the phrase intestinal fortitude as a less vulgar form of the word guts, in the sense of courage, bravery.

How much older is guts in this sense than intestinal fortitude?

Si
I don't have my OED onhand, but Etymology Online attests it from 1893. While not the gospel, they're usually pretty good.
#9
Old 04-30-2007, 08:06 PM
Graphite is a great
Moderator
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,550
Quote:
Originally Posted by si_blakely
I use the phrase intestinal fortitude as a less vulgar form of the word guts, in the sense of courage, bravery.

How much older is guts in this sense than intestinal fortitude?

Si
"Guts" to mean intestinal fortitude is only cited from the 1890's. It wasn't a polite word in the Victorian Era, so it didn't get used in print much.

Here's a post from over at the American Dialect Society Mailing LIst.

Quote:
Yes, "guts" used to be considered coarse. Here's an illustrative quotation from Richard Grant White, A Desultory Denunciation of English Dictionaries, in The Galaxy (1869), via Cornell University Making of America:
<<Vulgarity is no more a justification of the omission of any English word than obsoleteness. Dictionaries are mere books of reference, made to be consulted, not to be read. In the bear-baiting days of Queen Elizabeth it might be said without offence of a vile, dull man, that he was "not fit to carry guts to a bear." Now-a-days a man who used, in general society, the simple English word for which some New England "females" elegantly substitute _innards_, would be looked upon with horror. But this is no good reason for the omission of the word from a dictionary.>>
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: 300% increase 6ft bathtub predator governors imposable thumbs somethingawful forum greenies drug colored drinking fountain golden smacks scenery chewing brass knuckles damage safe box keys thunder chief song lions vs wolves cassette repair drywall picture hangers books about voodoo hide car key champagne racks average casket weight aircraft trim earwax test timecube archive trimps heirlooms dago tee shirt wiper blade refill friendly wager ideas fishtail car ugly polo shirts meineke brakes cost aaaaaa zzz moose knuckles urban value of gc best place to stab someone what does estroven do to men how to put out thermite lemon & manufacturer buyback why is veal white roll your own clove cigarettes wizard vs sorcerer vs warlock is undercover boss fake what pans do professional chefs use longest sellout streak in nfl do i have to put a return address on a letter carol burnett tim conway elephant saran wrap as a condom why are boats right hand drive crystal light sweet tea ingredients i hate the homelessness problem no snooze caffeine pills what does kid gloves mean why do some plates get hot in the microwave how to trace electrical circuits italian leather sofa cake how to prevent wasp nests from coming back what do you call a female captain capital one this feature is currently unavailable ramen noodles nutrition facts without seasoning bug bites in pairs of two led christmas light watts why are animals attracted to me how tall were the romans what goes with corned beef and cabbage dinner stopper stuck in bathroom sink