Re: OUAI = "DAMN"?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Sep 14 1998 - 15:23:47 EDT

At 6:28 PM -0500 9/14/98, Ben Crick wrote:
>On Mon 14 Sep 98 (13:10:36 +0000), wrote:
>> that would be true if Woe were an obsolete word. But it isnt. The
>> relatively educated pew sitter (the audience of Jesus) would know quite
>> well what it meant. And they would also know what "damn you" meant.
>> And they would know the difference between the two.
> Right, Jim!
> Wasn't it the Andrews Sisters who used to sing in close harmony,
> "Woe betide the mister
> Who comes between me and my sister" ?
> ...and that was within my lifetime!

And why is it that the way I heard this was:

        "Lord help the mister
        Who comes between me and my sister
        And Lord help the sister
        Who comes between me and my man!"

Actually, I'm not sure that I'm recalling the very same version, but what I
recall was a version sung in one of those old 1950's Christmas musicals.

I too am inclined to take exception to the notion that Jesus was preaching
to the "educated pew folk" of his day. My impression is that the "educated
pew folk" of his day were not inclined to give Jesus the time of day. But
that's another topic and it really ISN'T one that belongs on B-Greek.

Something else that does, however, is the question whether there is a
modern equivalent of OUAI. What does the fire and brimstone preacher say to
those who are not his educated pew-sitters and who reject both his/her
education and his/her pews? Another archaism: "And may the Lord have mercy
on your soul!"? or "Heaven help you!"--insofar as that is a prayer, it is a
prayer (theoretically) for the reversal of what the pronouncer expects to
become of the addressee.

If we attempted to express the force of MAKARIOS/MAKARIOI with a "Good for
you!", then what would be the alternative for the OUAI? "There's Hell to

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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