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Middle Of Nowhere
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:22 am Reply with quote
Megamatt
 
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Charlotte, NC


I'm recently fascinated by this phrase. It's clearly exagerration, but is it hyperbole? It almost doesn't seem specific enough and it doesn't have the same punchy, attention-grabbing effect of most hyperbole. These are the things that keep me up at night, nerds! What do you think?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:15 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


I guess it's a form of hyperbole. Howard S. and I were just talking yesterday about one of the places we lived when we grew up, and we more or less agreed it was in the middle of nowhere.

Meaning not merely that it was "nowhere," but it was so far removed from the boundaries of "nowhere" that it would be quite a trip before you got to the exit point of "nowhere." Right in the middle of nowhere.

In the 1980s I wrote a song on this theme, and I called it "American Siberia." I had the notion of "the middle of nowhere" in mind.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:43 pm Reply with quote
OskarSigvardsson
 
Joined: 04 Jul 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Stockholm, Sweden


While I agree that this could be classified as hyperbole, isn't this more of a case of it just being an idiom? I mean, many idioms could, if you really analalyze them, be considered hyperbole. Take "asleep at the wheel" for instance. When you say that you are talking about a person that isn't paying attention or is irresponsible, not someone whos neglect would actually cost them their life. I wouldn't call that hyperbole even if it is fairly strong if interpreted literally.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:37 pm Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Greeley, CO


Another tem that I have heard that means the "middle of nowhere" is BFE, I hear this from my friends sometimes and know what it means, but have no clue what it stands for, any ideas?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:48 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


I've not heard this one.

I can imagine the F. Maybe "beyond the f-ing end"? "edge"?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:43 pm Reply with quote
webhill
 
Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 50


Dave wrote:
I've not heard this one.

I can imagine the F. Maybe "beyond the f-ing end"? "edge"?


I haven't heard "BFE" for "middle of nowhere" either. What I have heard does have an F*** in it, though. "Where did you live before you moved here?" "Oh, nowhere you ever heard of... Buttf****, Montana..."

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:18 pm Reply with quote
Tonamel
 
Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 38


BFE is pretty similar to Buttf***, Montana. As Urban Dictionary says, it's Bum F***, Egypt.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:29 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Well, Urban Dictionary entry #12 has the same meaning I guessed, but there are so many other entries that suport the "B. F. Egypt" meaning, this seems to make sense.

Language is, after all, made of meanings that people agree on, and more people seem to agree on that meaning than mine.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:52 pm Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Greeley, CO


I think I'll drop Bum F'ing Egypt in conversation the next time it would come up and see what kind of reaction I get.

I need to look at urban dictionary more.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:08 pm Reply with quote
Megamatt
 
Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Charlotte, NC


I honestly did not hear BFE for the first 23-ish years of my life and the first person that said it to me probably got the most confused/disturbed look from me that they had ever gotten in their life. I still don't like the expression, mainly because it makes no sense, as far as I can tell.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:41 pm Reply with quote
Howard Shepherd
 
Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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Location: Asheville, NC


I'm surprised to read that my older brother Dave didn't know BFE as "Bumf**k Egypt." It's an expression that I heard a lot when I was in high school. A variation of it was "Bumf**k Arkansas." When I was younger I also heard simply "East Bumf**k" (or "West Bumf**k," depending on which way you were facing).

Another expression that I remember from back in the day isn't so much about being in the middle of nowhere as it is about being incredibly lost. We used to talk about driving "all over hell and half of Georgia."
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 1:44 pm Reply with quote
grimace
 
Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Location: London, UK


"The back of beyond" has a certain poetry to it, I think.

No BFE over here in the UK, but I've heard (and used) 'the arse-end of nowhere'.

Now - does anyone know the etymology/origin of 'out in the sticks'? Is it just a dysphemism for 'the woods' or is there something else - a reference to the river of the underworld, perhaps?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:24 am Reply with quote
rmk
 
Joined: 14 Jul 2006
Posts: 5


Tracing it to the river Styx might be reading a bit too much into it. I know here in New England, "out in the sticks" refers specifically to being far out in the woods, and not merely in the middle of nowhere.

I've always thought of it as a synecdoche, with the sticks representing the trees, and consequently the whole forest. I've also seen the word "stick" used in reference to a person from out in the sticks.

This is a bit off topic, but Wiktionary also cites an old British usage of "stick" which refers to a quantity of 25 eels.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:19 am Reply with quote
julie
 
Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 47
Location: Washington DC


Howard Shepherd wrote:
I'm surprised to read that my older brother Dave didn't know BFE as "Bumf**k Egypt." It's an expression that I heard a lot when I was in high school. A variation of it was "Bumf**k Arkansas." When I was younger I also heard simply "East Bumf**k" (or "West Bumf**k," depending on which way you were facing).

Another expression that I remember from back in the day isn't so much about being in the middle of nowhere as it is about being incredibly lost. We used to talk about driving "all over hell and half of Georgia."


Mark and I travel most summers to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, where we volunteer, and we stay every year in the campground. Longtime Folkies tend to congregate in mass camps, and name them - and the names of the camps become landmarks that you find year after year. Many of them are plays on phrases that use the word F*** but they replace it with the word "Folk". For the last half dozen years, Mark and I have camped with our friends in "East Bum Folk".

Julie

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:28 am Reply with quote
Dani
 
Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Posts: 4


I thought BFE was a phrase originated by the military, makes a certain amount of sense, coming from guys stationed "in the middle of nowhere"

On the "lost in the middle of nowhere" line, is anyone familiar with "we were so lost, we went all around Robin Hood's Barn," refering, I imagine to the idea that Robin Hood's Barn was all of Sherwood Forrest. This was used when I was kid, but I've yet to find someone else in my adult life familiar with it, is it a regional thing (New England) or just one of those weird family idioms?
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