Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe: 42 Years Of Yiddishkeit
Right Column Redux:  Heather Cox Richardson

This and That

”Don’t Pet The Sweaty Stuff Followup
Last week’s column included some old advice I received: “Don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” If you don’t read comments, you will have missed Robert Malchman’s: “If you haven't petted the sweaty stuff, you've missed out massively.”

For some reason the word “dast” popped into my head this week. It means “dare” as in “I dast not go.” It fell out of common usage by the turn of the 20th century. According to the Internet: “Dast” is a bit of American dialect that's found in plays and novels depicting working-class or countrified speech. Sometimes it means “dare” (or “dares”), sometimes “dared,” and sometimes the tense is ambiguous or irrelevant.”


Clark Smith

I believe "dast" is the subjunctive form of "dare" - thus it means "wouldn't dare (shoud the occasion arise)". Sunjunctive forms are a vanishing breed in American English, though the old joke about getting scrod in Boston still has traction among the effetes.

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