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.

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Entry from January 19, 2011
“Goose is cooked”

To say that “one’s goose is cooked” means that a person is in trouble (such as overwhelming debt or other problems) that can’t be escaped. The term “gone goose,” meaning “beyond all hope,” has been cited in print since at least 1830. The “goose” in “gone goose” was probably added for alliteration.

“His goose is cooked” has been cited in print since at least 1845 and might be a variant of “gone goose.”


Wiktionary: goose is cooked
Phrase
goose is cooked

1.(idiomatic) All hope is gone; there is no possibility of success.
If he doesn’t win the next round, then his goose is cooked.

GoEnglish.com
Someone’s Goose Is Cooked ( that person is in trouble ... )

The Free Dictionary
cook (one’s) goose Slang
To ruin one’s chances: The speeding ticket cooked his goose with his father. Her goose was cooked when she was caught cheating on the test.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
to cook any one’s goose: to ‘do for’ a person or thing; to ruin or kill. slang. See goose n.
1851 Street Ballad in H. Mayhew London Labour I. 227/2 If they come here we’ll cook their goose, The pope and Cardinal Wiseman.
1860 Trollope Framley Parsonage xlii, Chaldicotes, Gagebee, is a cooked goose, as far as Sowerby is concerned.
1863 C. Reade Hard Cash xiv, If you worry or excite your brain‥you will cook your own goose—by a quick fire.
1868 E. Yates Rock Ahead iii. v, It‥will be quite enough to cook your goose as it is.
gone goose or gosling: a person or thing that is beyond all hope
1830 Massachusetts Spy 7 July, You are a gone goose, friend.

22 February 1845, Southern Patriot (SC), pg. 1:
HOW TO COOK YOUR NEIGHBOR’S GOOSE.—Collar him, take a moderate sized stick, hickory will do, stir him up; apply offensive epithets; when he boils over with rage, continue dressing, baste sufficiently, and when he’s properly served out, his goose is cooked.

Google Books
Paddiana: or, Scraps and sketches of Irish life, present and past
By Adam Blenkinsop and Sir William Henry Gregory
London : R. Bentley
1847
Pg. 30:
“I rather think, to use a figurative expression, your goose is cooked!”

Google Books
18 March 1848, Puppet-Show (London), pg. 89:
A MOURNFUL BALLAD.
(FROM THE ORIGINAL SPANISH.)
(...)
“Ah!” replied Don Sutherlando,
As most woe-begone he looked;
“Fellow-writer, in that quarter
Much I fear my goose is cooked.”

Google Books
November 1853, The Knickerbocker: or, New-York Monthly Magazine, pg. 453:
“Simeon,” said he, “your goose is cooked!”

Google Books
10 February 1866, Punch, or the London Charivari, pg. 61, col. 1:
The first step to success with a young suitor is the goose-step, and when he is accepted, it is usual for his friends to tell him that his goose is cooked.

Google Books
A dictionary of English phrases with illustrative sentences
By Kwang Ki-Chaou
New York, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co.
1881
Pg. 383:
Cook one’s goose, to=To kill or ruin a person. (c) (Chjinese—ed.)
This infection of yellow fever will cook his goose for him=This infection of yellow fever will kill him. The mining speculation has failed; your goose is cooked=You are ruined; for your mining speculation has failed.

Google Books
Dictionary of Idiomatic Phrases
By James Main Dixon
New York, NY: T. Nelson & Co.
1891
Pg. 137:
To kill the goose that laid the golden eggs—to destroy the source of one’s income or profit. P. (Prose—ed.) A phrase taken from one of Aesop’s Fables.
(...)
To cook a persons’ goose for him—to cause his death. S. (Slang—ed.)
“You see,” said Tom, “that if you should happen to be wrong, our goose is cooked without the least doubt.”—BESANT.
It’s a gone goose with any one—there is no more hope for him. S.
Well, he took the contract for beef with the troops; and he fell astern (failed to make it profitable), so I gues it’s a gone goose with him.—HALIBURTON.

Google Books
Three plays of Tennessee Williams
By Tennessee Williams
New York, NY: New Directions
1964
Pg. 282:
There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “When your goose is cooked you might as well have it cooked with plenty of gravy.”
(From 1953’s Camino Real—ed.)

Google Books
What in the word?:
Wordplay, word lore, and answers to the peskiest questions about language

By Charles Harrington Elster
Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.
2005
Pg. 3:
Goose-cooking apparently has nothing to do with criminals etymologically. It just means to ruin someone’s plan or project, to rain on somebody’s parade.
(...)
My sources agree, however, that this locution probably doesn;t have ushc a fabulous origin and that it isn’t particularly old. The earliest record of it is from 1851, in a London street ballad attacking the pope for appointing a certain cardinal: “If they come here we’ll cook their goose,/The Pope and Cardinal Wiseman.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 19, 2011 • Permalink