Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Sweet as": an unfinished simile

After the workout…
Rockabilly: Do you need to take a shower?

Bruce: I’m clean as a whistle, cool as a cucumber, sweet as.

Rockabilly: Sweet as?

Bruce: You know. I’m good.

Rockabilly: Good as gold? So how do you end “sweet as”?

Bruce: You don’t. The expression stops right there.

Rockabilly: Sounds like an unfinished simile.

Bruce: Or an empty simile.

Rockabilly: Where do they use this?

Bruce: My neck of the woods. Downunder. Say “sweet as” to an American and they wait for you to finish it.

Rockabilly: You noted my mystified look.
The list of similes built on “sweet as” is extensive. “Sweet as honey” (Homer),  “sweet as damask roses," (Shakespeare), “sweet as if angels sang” (Shelley). The unfinished "sweet as" is a common New Zealand expression. As vacuous as the contemporary reliance on “awesome.”


rolenzo said...

Fantasmique! Why, it's just like.

Barry Natusch said...

…"kangaroos loose in the top paddock?" (eccentric)
…"go off like a frog in a sock?" (go berserk)
…"face like a dropped pie?" (pug ugly)
Plenty of Strines seem to have the gift of the gab...