A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 23, 2013
“Colder than a witch’s tit” (very cold)

“Cold as a witch’s tit” (or “colder than a witch’s tit”) is very cold. The expression has variations that include other things associated with a witch. “Cold as a witch’s kiss” was cited in print in 1918. “Cold as a witch’s tit” was cited in print in 1932. “Cold as a witch’s eye” was cited in 1933 and “cold as a witch’s lips” in 1956.
 
Jerome Weidman’s I’ll Never Go There Any More (1941) specifically mentioned New York City:
 
“You have to expect heat in New York in the summer no matter where you are. But wait till the wintertime comes. It’ll be as cold as a witch’s tit.”
 
   
(Oxford English Dictionary)
witch’s tit  n. in fanciful proverbial phr. (as) cold as a witch’s tit , extremely cold.
1932   F. van W. Mason Spider House xviii. 210   It’s cold as a witch’s tit outside.
1974   Times 17 Aug. 7/3   It was cold as a witch’s tit, so I sat there and shivered.
1980   R. L. Duncan Brimstone viii. 200   Just listening to a weather report… Albuquerque’s clear but cold as a witch’s tit.
   
12 June 1918, Rockford (IL) Register-Gazette, “The Confessions of a German Deserter,” pg. 9, col. 4:
The inside of a cloud is cold as a witch’s kiss, but it is fun shooting into them and then suddenly out into the clear sky again.
 
Google News Archive
4 October 1933, Miami (FL) Daily News, “Scribe Assigned To Crash World Series Gate Finally Gets In—On Ticket” by James H, Street (AP), pg. 9, col. 3:
The man at the player’s entrance had a look as cold as a witch’s eye.
 
Google Books
I’ll Never Go There Any More
By Jerome Weidman
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1941
Pg. 58:
“It’s the summer. You have to expect heat in New York in the summer no matter where you are. But wait till the wintertime comes. It’ll be as cold as a witch’s tit.”
 
Google Books
The Catcher in the Rye
By J. D. Salinger
Boston, MA: Little, Brown
1951, ©1945
Pg. 7:
Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch’s teat, especially on top of that stupid hill.
 
Old Fulton NY Postcards
26 August 1956, The Sunday Press (Binghamton, NY), “Bus Seat Hog Is Called The Most Swinish of All,” pg. 9-A, col. 7:
Give the seat hog a look as cold as a witch’s lips or a tentative shove and he or she stares back menacingly, but moves not a muscle and pigheadedly stays put.
 
Google Books
None But the Brave
By Freida Kenyon Brown
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
1958
Pg. 83:
Who in God’s name, he thought, could have predicted a night like this, this early in the fall? Black as hell and cold as a witch’s teat!
 
Google Books
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel:
A Play

By David Rabe
New York, NY: Samuel French
1969
Pg. 56:
MICKEY. They send you to Georgia for the winter and it’s like a witch’s tit. Can you imagine that? A witch’s tit? Eeeeeeggggggg. Put ice on your tongue. That ever happens to me, man, I’d turn in my tool.
 
,a href=“http://books.google.com/books?id=HrAfAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA178&dq=witch’s+teat&hl=en&sa=X&ei=FXyRUs980ciwBM3LgMAB&ved=0CEwQ6AEwBji0AQ#v=onepage&q=witch’s%20teat&f=false”>Google Books
Idiom Structure in English
By Adam Makkai
The Hague: Mouton & Co.
1972
Pg. 178:
Thus it is said of somebody who is idle that he won’t even lift a finger, extreme cold is described as cold as a witch’s tit or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. These forms are often vulgar and listed as slang in the Dictionary of American slang.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTime/Weather • Saturday, November 23, 2013 • Permalink


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