Whitleather, tough as

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12 comments on this post.
  1. Harold Russell:

    This will betray the large gaps in my literary education – but I am not familiar with the Robert Browning anecdote mentioned above. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me?

  2. admin:

    Sure, but I should warn folks that the answer is “not safe for work,” i.e., contains content that some may find offensive.

    See Wikipedia and Language Log.

  3. cyranorox:

    is it not the root of the other euphemism, ‘pussy’, via Cockney rhyming slang? ie, ‘T—, T—, pussy cat’?compare Fork, Fork, Duke of York ; fork= hand ,and Duke becomes the word for hand or usually fist.

  4. TEDD CARMICHAEL:

    I AM 87 YEARS OLD, AND MY MAMA USED THIS TERM EVERY TIME WE HAD MEAT FOR DINNER THAT WAS NOT TO HER LIKING. I NEVER KNEW WHAT IT MEANT, AND I DOUBT MAMA DID EITHER. BUT TODAY, AT LAST, WHEN THE TERM CAME TO MIND, I LOOKED IT UP. NOW MY MIND’S AT EASE.

  5. JO ETTA JOHNSON:

    Yep! Heard this term all my life (I’m 67), but never knew its origin until today. Thanks!!!

  6. Bonnie bibbee:

    My grandmother used this term quite often. I never really knew what it meant . Thanks

  7. Paul Pegelow:

    The only difference between TEDD CARMICHAEL’S comments on March 28, 2012 and mine is that I’m 79.
    April 13 2013

  8. Dennis Hall:

    Same as Tedd Carmichael’s, except it was father in law who used it all his life. He’s been gone for years and I’m 71.

  9. Jeff C:

    My 85 year old Mom–who has Altztimers and is living with us– uses this saying to describe my wife’s cooking–especially with meats Lolol.

  10. brandy mills:

    I maybe the only person old enough to know what the phrase tough as whit leather is…
    My grand mother cooked this white leathery meat which was a piece of muscle tendon. for us kids to chew on, and we really did have to chew… That meat was so tough you chewed your jaws numb trying to soften it. But while we waited for a meal to be finished, our whit leather would hold us over til then.
    We loved it! tasted good too, don’t ask me what she did to favor this meat, but you could string a piece off ..just like string cheese.!!
    I don’t know if it came off the cows or the pigs.. But there would be one big muscle piece that was like that.. Ahh.. to have a piece of whit leather now..

  11. Paul Hartwell:

    My grandfather, a butcher, would cut up meat to feed to his greyhounds. Occasional he would hand me a piece of “whitleaher” and say, “try to break it.” Of course I couldn’t, but later in life I wondered just what part of the cow it came from. Never knew a modern butcher in any meat market that knew what I was talking about. For the record, I’m 87.

  12. socrates:

    In VA when I was a kid, we called that ‘hard meat’.

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