Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Episode 71: Head Over Heels Transcript

Click on “Read More” for the full transcript.

We used Temi to auto transcribe this, then Dan went through and checked it based on the show notes. He tried really hard on it, but this kind of stuff isn't his specialty. So if you notice anything confusing, please comment on this post so Dan can look at it and clarify anything.

Shauna:                                00:00                     Welcome to bunny trails, a whimsical adventure of idioms and other turns of phrase. I'm Shauna Harrison
Dan:                                       00:06                     and I'm Dan Pugh. Each week we delve into the origin and history of an idiom or other turn of phrase and discuss how it's been used over time. Shauna, we are nearing the end of season two. We have one more episode after this and then we'll take a break for a couple of weeks to rejuvenate and focus on other things while everyone is celebrating the winter holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, boxing day, new year's and probably many others that I've either forgotten about or maybe don't even know about.
Shauna:                                00:37                     Also. That was a pretty good list.
Dan:                                       00:38                     Yeah, I wrote it down. It's in the script so it works out pretty well, but I didn't look anything up so those are just the ones I came up with off the top of my head. Well, so for listeners this holiday season is the best time to catch up on our 70 other episodes so you can learn more about this silly language we call English. Patrons you will continue to get content over the break. We are working on some tweaks for season three. We'll talk more about the Patreon a little later, but first let's jump right into this week's idiom. Head over heels.
Shauna:                                01:08                     Oh, I like this one.
Dan:                                       01:10                     Yes, it was a very fun, it was a very fun research for me. So right off the bat, according to the Oxford English dictionary, we have two definitions for head-over-heels, one for the literal and one for a more figurative. So with the literal, with reference to falling tumbling so that once heels are in the air and one's head is below them, so as to turn completely over as in a somersault or a word that they use, headlong. In a figurative sense though in a particular state, especially that of being in love to an extent or in a manner which suggests complete lack of control or reservation, headlong, abandonedly, hopelessly, utterly.
Shauna:                                01:50                     Ah, okay.
Dan:                                       01:52                     One of the first things that I will just say right off the bat, and because I have heard this said over and over again, but Davy Crockett did not coin the phrase head over heels in love. It's not, not only did he not create it, it was in use, well frankly for many, many, many, many years before his autobiography came out. And his isn't even the first time we see it attested in the English language in print.
Shauna:                                02:16                     Okay. I don't know that much about Davy Crockett. I had never heard that either.
Dan:                                       02:20                     Well, it's all over the internet, so absolutely not. But of course, head over Heels is actually many hundreds of years older, uh, in the figurative use of being completely immersed in something, uh, or completely overtaken by it. Uh, that even that figurative use has been used for hundreds of years before Davy Crockett was even born. So, uh, I'll just dispel that internet myth right now.
Shauna:                                02:43                     Taken care of, um, I always thought this was kind of a silly idiom, uh, cause like head over heels,
Dan:                                       02:50                     Right. As a kid, I never understood the phrase either because my head is always over my heels. In fact, I very much despise having my head lower than other part of my body for almost any reason.
Shauna:                                03:02                     Yeah. So I'm thinking like heels over head would be more like,
Dan:                                       03:08                     well interesting you say that because that is exactly how the idiom started. Yes, the phrase was heels overhead and many other variants there in. But first I want to address something that I, another origin story I saw. Um, and, and something that I was told when I was young and I would not have even thought to mention it except I heard it on a podcast the other day as well as being the origin story, which it is not. Uh, and so I was listening to the dear Hank and John podcast, which admittedly the brothers green are very clear that they give dubious advice on this show. So you are not supposed to actually do anything they say. But um, oftentimes they do give really good advice or historical fact, but sometimes it's really difficult to parse when they're being serious and when they're not being serious more often with Hank because Hank is a science guy and he sometimes will just make something up and fool everyone. It sounds like it's real. John is pretty genuine in everything he says. And when he is, when he is making something up, which is rare, he, he can't even keep a straight face.
Shauna:                                04:14                     Right? Yeah. You can hear him laughing when he's trying to tell like when he's trying to lay one over, you know?
Dan:                                       04:20                     Yes, absolutely. So, but anyway, uh, the, the idea was that um, the head over Heels wasn't referring to flipping or chaos or immersion, but instead referring to the fact that your head may be higher than your heels, but it isn't over your Heels. So when you're standing, your head is actually slightly forward from where your heels are. And if your head were to be over your heels, then you would actually be a little out of balance and could cause you to fall over.
Shauna:                                04:50                     Yeah. So don't try this right now, but sometime when you're like in a safe place, put pillows out all over the floor and then try and stand with your head back over your heels.
Dan:                                       05:00                     And it's easy to do. I did it when I was looking at this. In fact, I did it right when I heard Hank green talking about it. But I, and I, and I remembered that I had also been told that as a kid that that was the reason. Uh, but it's absolute crap. This is not the reason. Um, now I will say that description does match up a little bit with the boxing idiom to put him on his heels, uh, or on his Heel or turn on their heels. So that originated in the late 18 hundreds in the sport of boxing, as I mentioned, and meant to knock a person backwards. And in the early 19 hundreds, it came to mean putting someone on the defensive. And now if I were to say someone's on their heels or they've turned on their heels, I would mean that they're either on their defensive or they're running away. Right. But it does seem to make more sense as you said, if we said heels over head. Right. And we did.
Shauna:                                05:49                     That's so awesome. I imagine like head over heels, somebody just like changed it without even thinking about it and cause it sounds better, like better flow.
Dan:                                       05:59                     It is a, um, a more pleasant mouth feel, which is the grossest thing I've ever said on this podcast. So heels over head actually started in, uh, the late 13 hundreds, uh, and we have it attested either 1380 or 1400, according to the Oxford English dictionary. And this is in the book Patience which was by an unknown author, uh, where he basically says, and heels over head our land about. So that's the first time we see it. Now this in this case ha, uh, heels over head, which is also listed in the Oxford English dictionary is, is a literal thing so that ones heels are in the air and one's head is below them, so as to turn completely over as an a somersault. Right. And this is also in a figurative, so, so as to be in a state of chaos or disorder. So topsy turvy what also match this heels overh ead definition.
Shauna:                                06:53                     Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, that's a long time ago. I didn't realize it was that, that's pretty cool.
Dan:                                       06:57                     And it, it wouldn't, it wasn't used even when it was used figuratively, which it was by the 16 hundreds. We see it using used literally and figuratively, pretty interchangeably. Uh, but it really, when we think of head over heels now, we often times think of head over heels in love and that didn't happen until a little bit later, but we'll get there.
Shauna:                                07:15                     Gotcha. I always associated it with the like sense of a loss of control. So you know like when you're on a swing and you swing really high and so you're on the way forward and your feet get up over above your head.
Dan:                                       07:28                     In that case your heels are quite literally over your head.
Shauna:                                07:29                     yeah, I love that part. Right. Just before you come back down where you're floating almost. Um, yeah,
Dan:                                       07:35                     that's how they do a Zeo grav with the, with some astronauts and others is they'll do that. They'll fly like parabolas the parabolic, the parabolic. Is it a parabola or is it a pair up pair of Bulla? What
Shauna:                                07:47                     it's a parabola is the shape and then parabolic would be the mood, the shape of the movement or the, yeah.
Dan:                                       07:54                     All right. Fair enough. Okay. I will give a couple of other examples here. One more example of the Heels over head here. And this is from 1653 Fran├žois Rabelais the first book of the works of mr Fran├žois Rabelais. And this was translated by Thomas Urquhart.
Shauna:                                08:09                     Well done. You've said it.
Dan:                                       08:11                     Say what?
Shauna:                                08:12                     Yes.
Dan:                                       08:13                     Yay. And uh, and this is, this is the quote, he incontinently turned, heels overhead in the air and straight found himself bit Twix, the bow of the saddle and in good settlement I'm pretty sure that was probably supposed to said bow and I just mispronounced it, the bow of the saddle, the saddle in that.
Shauna:                                08:30                     Yeah, that unpleasant. You said his name like three times.
Dan:                                       08:38                     No, I always said his name once on the podcast because I get to edit it. Also found other examples of heels over something. Uh, and this was in the Scottish language during the mid 17 hundreds and throughout the 18 hundreds where they would say heels over Gowdy.
Shauna:                                08:53                     What's Gowdy?
Dan:                                       08:53                     Gowdy, I don't know. And neither does the Oxford English dictionary,
Shauna:                                08:59                     I feel like I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is.
Dan:                                       08:59                     But the in the Oxford English dictionary. I will, I will tell you if you'll stop interrupting me.
Shauna:                                09:03                     But I just need to know.
Dan:                                       09:06                     And you will! In the Oxford English dictionary, they with a question mark say perhaps from Goldy as in like a story of Goldilocks or Goldie meaning a slang for a head. So in this case, heels over Gowdy might be a Scottish slang of the late 17 hundreds, early 18 hundreds for the head.
Shauna:                                09:26                     Ah, so kind of like ah, like Goldilocks type Goldie type of thing.
Dan:                                       09:31                     That is their, that is their presumption, but they, uh, make it clear that this is unknown. There are also examples in the forms, over head and ears, head and ears, and head over ears, all meaning figuratively, so as to be deeply immersed or involved in something. And here are some examples of this. This is an example from Abraham Fleming from a panoply of epistles. Now, panoply is a full suit of armor. And so this is from Abraham Fleming 1576 that man should lie and shroud himself head and ears in slothfulness. We also see another example of this head and ears, 1660 John Harding in "Paracelsus, his Archidoxis comprised in 10 books disclosing the genuine way of making, Quintessences, Arcanums, majestries, elixirs and others together with his books of renovation and restoration." That's the whole title .
Shauna:                                10:34                     That's a lot.
Dan:                                       10:34                     Well you know, 1668. There you go. So and in John Hardin's work, he says they are sunk head and ears in the glory of the world.
Shauna:                                10:43                     Yeah, I guess they got to get all their eloquence into the title of the book cause they just put like regular old plain speak inside it.
Dan:                                       10:51                     Well. So in this case and well on all of these cases with head and ears, these uh, both of these situations we see them figuratively and so being totally immersed and it would be easy to see a transition from us. I mean we do this all the time with, with idioms where we slightly alter an idiom. It's still understood by the speakers where we could say head and ears or over head and ears and you know, over time wording would change a little bit but it means the same thing. And so it's really easy to see how a total immersion would eventually by the, uh, 17 hundreds, mid 17 hundreds, uh, become head over heels in love because you're totally immersed in the relationship kind of thing. All right, so let's now talk about when we're seeing head over heels. And the first time we see head over heels or head and heels is in hex comes dictionary.
Dan:                                       11:42                     Um, and this was in 1678 and this is where they said tumble over head and heels. Now this is a, they're defining the word rol-bollen, which is a slang term rol-Bollen, R, O, L - B, O,L , L, E,N , which I may be mispronouncing, but they're defining it as tumble over head and heels. And remember we already said that we'd seen over heel and head and over head and ears. So tumble over head and heels was a phrase that we, we know they were obviously using because they used it in the definition for a word in a dictionary in 1678. We just happened to see it in print there. Uh, for one of the first times. We also see it figuratively used in 1710 in James Drake's Works Lucian. And this is where he said, you seem to be wholly lost in thought and retired into the inner most cabinet of your breast reeling and tumbling head over heels.
Dan:                                       12:44                     Now there's, we are looking in that, I was able to find a little bit of this and it's, it's translated from Greek, but it looks like, I don't think he's necessarily talking specifically about love here, but more in like pride. Um, but it's definitely used figuratively in this, in this way in 1710 being completely immersed and lost in an emotion. I will include this out of 1771 by Herbert Lawrence. This is out of the contemplate of man or the history of Christopher crab, Esquire of North Wales. The reason I'm going to include this is because I frequently see this being cited as the first time we see head over Heels in print. And, sometimes they'll say, this is the first time we see it used figuratively. Um, but other times they'll say, this is just the first time we saw it used at all. Uh, although I just gave many other examples in print of things happening before this particular work of art.
Dan:                                       13:39                     So this is not true. However, this is an actual work here. Herbert Lawrence, uh, the contemplate of man and he says he gave him such a violent, involuntary kick in the face as drove him head over heels. Ouch. Now in this particular book, Lawrence is using this literally, uh, meaning meaning knocked him so that he does the somersault like, uh, like the term was used at the time. Uh, so not in a figurative sense of, of an emotional confusion, but in a physical, uh, upheaval. So, but so and, and also the Oxford English dictionary also puts this in that literal translate in that literal usage. Uh, so I find it very interesting when not only is it used as the supposedly origin, but also, uh, used in the figurative sense as opposed to origin because it is not. So it is just a lot of people that are copying other things on the internet.
Dan:                                       14:35                     And then claiming that these are origin stories. But, uh, my experience, for in the two years that we've been doing this podcast is that is the vast majority of things you find on the internet are, are just copies of a copy of a copy of a copy. And everyone cites the same thing, but literally a 10 minute search through book archives, uh, or newspaper archives will often times net you earlier usages of it and immediately call into question everything printed on that, uh, in that article. Yes, absolutely. Here's another example of a figurative use in William Livingston's letters. This one was dated June 18th, 1778, and he says, now, behold, I find myself head over heels in debt to you. So again, not using love or pride in this case, but debt specifically, I owe you a great thing and I am immersed in the in the debt of gratitude or the potentially debt of money, this person.
Dan:                                       15:36                     And as I said earlier, I saw several, uh, attributions of head over heels in love given to Davy Crockett because the phrase was used in his autobiographical 1843 work. The narrative life of Davy Crockett. However, there are several examples of the phrase before that. The earliest I found and I did not spend just a whole lot of time, I couldn't find newspaper articles before 1800 that used it. But there is this book by Fred Ludlow, uh, it's called tales and sketches of old and new Bristol. I will note that most everything I read said head over heels in love was an Americanism that that was created in America. But this is a, an English book that was written in England and sold in England. So that clearly it was being used before that in England. Uh, as well. And I would say that since this book came out in 1800, uh, was obviously started before that.
Dan:                                       16:28                     So the phrase is clearly head over heels in love was clearly used in the 17 hundreds, although maybe the late 17 hundreds. Uh, and this is from Fred Ludlow. I left Hester banner at the door of her parents' house and I went home violently deliriously head over heels in love. Yes, I had caught the infection badly. Hmm. I like that the, the violently deliriously head over heels in love. Yeah, it's awesome. It's very sweet. I also saw this in Grahams, American monthly magazine of literature, art and they, and then they have an ellipsis there. That's the title. So I, I spent an an insane amount of time trying to figure out what the and, and, and the ellipsis. I'm like, where, where does it, no, it's just, that's actually just the title. I finally found a copy of the work and uh, so I could read it and get a little more understanding of the meaning behind it and found that the copy just said literature, art and ellipsis.
Dan:                                       17:24                     And I was like, Oh, that's the three dots. If we say ellipsis we're talking about those three dots, that means there's more to follow. And this was from a volumes 22 and 23 which are in one, uh, one booklet and this was from 1813. Mr Wildrake Hasty who after a headlong quarrel with his guardians concerning the amount of his allowance while under age scampered over with sir Walter Raleigh and falling head over heels in love. That very first day after he landed was married in a month and became the founder of our family on this side of the water.
Shauna:                                17:59                     Wow.
Dan:                                       18:00                     Yeah, yeah. Obviously and no one is, no one in any of these works is defining what head over heels in love means. So it's clearly, it was clearly used at the time, so I would, I would say that head over heels, there's pretty good evidence to show that head over heels in love was a common enough statement in the 17 hundreds maybe the late 17 hundreds but definitely at least in the 17 hundreds we also see in a the new English drama volume 12 this is by William Oxbury actually it was edited by William Oxbury, but his is the only name I could find attached to this in any way, shape or form. So I'm just going to give him the credit. And this is what was in 1820.
Dan:                                       18:43                     If by good luck the count had not rescued her from the giant hot show and instantly fallen head over heels in love with her himself.
Shauna:                                18:51                     Oh my goodness.
Dan:                                       18:53                     So head over heels as we use it today started as heels overhead in the late 13 hundreds or possibly the early 14 hundreds because uh, dating, uh, older English works is hard and, and it meant a literal flipping of the body and a figurative of being fully immersed. At some point it morphed as languages want to do if you variant ways of saying it, like overhead and heel. And then finally in the late 17, hundreds came to be used as a descriptor for being totally immersed in love.
Together:                            19:23                     Aww
Shauna:                                19:25                     bunny trails is and will always be free, but we are only able to make this content because of the awesome support of our patrons, including Pat Rowe and Mary Lopez, Pat Mary and many others help make sure bunny trails keeps coming out week after week, no matter a person's financial ability. If you are in a financially stable place and would like to support this educational art form, we encourage you to check out the options at just $1 a month. You will get access to our show notes, which includes sources and notes that didn't make it into the episode. At $3 you'll get a special RSS feed and early access to the episodes. You'll also get our behind the scenes content, something we'll have plenty of over the holiday break at $7 you'll get our monthly mini episodes. Those sometimes have more information about something we covered during the week or sometimes it's completely different. We've even done a few not safe for work episodes about more colorful turns of phrase at $15 and up. He'll get personal on-air recognition for supporting and sponsoring bunny trails. We also have a limited supply of higher level tiers with some pretty cool perks and special access to the guts of the show. Check them all out at or you can link to it from our website
Dan:                                       20:46                     so I want start talking
Dan:                                       20:48                     about more modern usages, uh, with a beautiful artwork by Rosie Chomet. She is an award winning illustrator and digital designer. The image shows a couple kissing and one of them is floating with her heels above her head and the caption reads, head over heels in love. Rosie sent this to us on Twitter in February of 2019 and we loved it so much that we asked if we could use it for our episode art and being the gracious person she is. She said yes. So you should be able to see it on your podcast app. I'm also going to recommend you head on over to Rosie's Instagram and check out all of her work and on Instagram she is Rosie Chomet. That is R O. S. I. E. C H. O. M. E. T. plus. I saw her commissions are open. So if you're looking for a custom artwork then check it out.
Shauna:                                21:39                     Her stuff is really incredible.
Dan:                                       21:41                     I, another time that we saw head over heels is an in 1985 song by tears for fears off the album, songs from the big chair. This was one that I didn't know if I had heard or not. So I went on a and listened to the official music video. It is very classically in 1980s music video by the way, but I did recognize the song pretty quickly. The chorus says something happens and I'm head over heels. I'll never find out till I'm head over heels. Something happens and I'm head over heels are, don't take my heart. Don't break my heart. Don't, don't, don't throw it away.
Shauna:                                22:18                     I can like hear it.
Dan:                                       22:19                     Yeah. The uh, the music video takes place in a library and he is singing to a very stern, angry looking librarian.
Shauna:                                22:27                     Awesome.
Dan:                                       22:27                     Yes, I know. Which made it even more like appropriate for our show because we are huge fans of the library.
Dan:                                       22:34                     In fact, we write some of our episodes at the library, at our, at our hometown public library.
Shauna:                                22:39                     That's a great place. It's a great place to be.
New Speaker:                    22:43                     There's also a movie from 2001 called head over heels. Here's the synopsis, although she has an excellent job at the metropolitan museum of art and the fabulous apartment with model roommates. New Yorker, Amanda Pierce played by Monica Potter, remains unlucky in love and intent on finding the right guy when she develops a crush on neighbor Jim Winston played by Freddie Prinze jr she begins to spy on him and witnesses his apparent involvement in a murder. Since things don't add up, she tries to figure out what really happened and if she still has a shot at dating the guy,
Shauna:                                23:18                     Oh my goodness. I get like at first I was like, yeah, I'm not much into love stories type stuff, but I am a huge fan of, um, you know, the met.
Dan:                                       23:29                     Well, this is classified as a romance mystery.
Shauna:                                23:32                     Okay. So, yeah, and I like that and I'm a whole, I'm all on the like, okay. Uh, we're going to see if he murdered someone and if I can still date him regardless.
Dan:                                       23:40                     He's cute, so I'm totally in. Yeah. All right. We also saw a 2014 book called head over heels. This is by Jill Shalvis. She is a New York times bestselling author, breaking rules and breaking hearts free spirited. Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon to be married. Sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life, running their families newly renovated inn but soon. Her love of trouble and trouble with love draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who would like nothing better than to tame her wild ways. Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff. Hot on her heels his rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make any girl begged to be handcuffed for the first time instead of avoiding the law. Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straight lace sheriff over Chloe's colorful past, keep her from a love that lasts and the safe Haven she truly wants in a town called lucky Harbor.
Shauna:                                24:41                     Oh my God.
Dan:                                       24:42                     Oh boy. I don't know. Now I'm hot, huh man. Uh, this is part of the lucky Harbor series. There are like 20 books in the series, but it's not like they don't necessarily build off of each other. So I went to the website, which is just J I L L S H A L V I And uh, so there are like 20 books in this series, the lucky Harbor series, and it's kind of more a story of the town and the people in it. So you can read them in any order. It's not like you had to have read another one, but this is the third in the series. But it makes it clear you can read them in any order. Obviously, I believe this is a romance style novel. Not normally my style, but the synopsis is just really good. And as you can tell, I have a hard time. I had a hard time reading it without, uh, losing it.
Dan:                                       25:33                     All right. In 2018, there was a Broadway musical called head over heels. It was built as a new musical where once upon a time is right now, this was directed by Michael Mayer. Head over heels is a bold new musical comedy from the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the angry inch Avenue Q and spring awakening. It's played its final Broadway performance on January 6th 2018 this laugh out loud. Love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980s all female rock band, the Go-Go's, including the hit songs. We got the beat. Our lips are sealed vacation. Belinda Carlisle's. Heaven is a place on earth and mad about you, a modern musical fairy tale where once upon a time is right now it follows the escapades of a Royal family who set out on a journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction. New York magazine calls it a clever, delightful, bubbly, exuberant party. I saw somebody else call it saucy. Yeah. If it was from the same people that did a Avenue Q then. All right. I could see that.
Shauna:                                26:38                     I was not sure what direction it was going to go until you listed. I can tell you said it was that was doing it and I was like, Oh yeah, that might be a really interesting,
Dan:                                       26:49                     well that about wraps us up for today. Again, I want to say special thanks to Rosie Chomet for the use of our artwork with the episode today. She is such a talented artist and I highly recommend you check out her work. You can find her on Instagram, Rosie Chomet, R. O. S. I. E. C H. O. M. E. T. I also would recommend that you head over to Patrion if you're interested in keeping track of what we're doing during the break. We will be back in mid January. We've got one more episode before the end of this season. Uh, but all our patrons at any level will get information throughout the holiday break. So I definitely recommend you go over there and check it out
Shauna:                                27:26                     and whether you have travel plans or will be staying home. The holidays are a great time to introduce the show to your friends and family. Word of mouth is the best advertising a show can get, and for those who need a little extra assistance, show them how to listen to podcasts on their devices and how to subscribe to bunny trails if that's their kind of thing. Thanks again for joining us and we'll talk to you again next week. Until then, remember,
Together:                            27:51                     Words belong to their users.

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