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Title: Orrin Hatch: Cunning Linguist
Source: Weekly Standard
URL Source: http://www.weeklystandard.com/orrin ... nning-linguist/article/2009185
Published: Aug 7, 2017
Author: Benjamin Parker
Post Date: 2017-08-07 23:21:44 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 66
Comments: 5

The Utah senator has a perfectly reasonable explanation for the expression "shot their wad."

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch found himself embroiled in controversy Monday, but unlike most Washington squabbles, this one was solved with a dictionary.

Last week, Hatch told Politico: “We’re not going back to health care. We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is. I’m sick of it.”

Some commentators objected to Hatch’s language on the grounds that he used an impolite euphemism. But the senator was ready with a lesson in etymology, tweeting:
As few of you were alive during the Civil War, here's a valuable jargon lesson on "wads" and the shooting of them. https://t.co/dOYvcfgImO pic.twitter.com/wk9aaNb3s2 - Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 7, 2017

The definition Hatch intended, based in musketry, implies that Republicans had only one shot, like a musket. Once the “wad” is fired, there’s nothing left to shoot.

While Hatch wasn’t alive during the Civil War either, his age is notable as far as jargon goes: He was born just 69 years after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, which is less than his current age of 83. It shouldn’t be surprising that a man of his age would have trouble relating to the idiom’s more common interpretation.

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#1. To: Tooconservative (#0)

It shouldn’t be surprising that a man of his age would have trouble relating to the idiom’s more common interpretation.

I'm not sure we would want to relate to idioms of common interpretation

paraclete  posted on  2017-08-08   0:00:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: paraclete (#1)

I just thought it was funny that old Hatch cut them off at the knees just as they had caught him uttering racy language.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-08-08   9:57:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Tooconservative (#0)

The definition Hatch intended, based in musketry, implies that Republicans had only one shot, like a musket. Once the “wad” is fired, there’s nothing left to shoot.

Not quite. During a long battle, if a soldier found himself out of lead balls he would load just wadding and shoot that. It would have no effect other than intimidation. "Shooting your wad" meant you've done everything you can and there's nothing more you can do.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-08-08   10:46:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: misterwhite (#3)

Hatch got close enough to claim some credit even if his intended meaning was not quite 100% accurate.

The phrase has passed through the hands of a lot of writers and speakers. The precise meaning of words to the original users of them gets a little ... frayed after many decades of the phrase being repeated in various contexts far removed from the original.

Not to cheer Hatch too much. This moment is probably the highlight of his final term in the Senate, you know, the one he promised Utah he wouldn't run for re-election to.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-08-08   11:32:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Tooconservative (#4)

The phrase has passed through the hands of a lot of writers and speakers.

Yes. The phrase has been appropriated and the definition has changed. But people can still hide behind the original. Like the lyrics in Her Strut:

Oh they do respect her but
They love to watch her strut

misterwhite  posted on  2017-08-08   11:59:43 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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