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ax-handle

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ax-handle n

Orig among loggers: a unit of measurement, esp of width. often joc
[. . .]
usu in pl; also flying ax-handle(s), flying battle axes, wild ax-handle(s): Diarrhea. chiefly NEast joc
1862 in 1962 VT Hist. 30.125 neVT, Have spent for apples .03. I wished I had not eat them for I feel I shall have the wild-ax-handles. 1869 in 1976 Yankee Oct 56 eMA, We are all pretty well, only troubled with ‘The Flying Axehandle’ some. 1909 DN 3.418 nME, Wild axe handles. . . [DN Ed: Diarrhœa?] 1965–70 DARE (Qu. BB19, Joking names for looseness of the bowels) Inf NH14, The ax-handles [laughter]; CO33, The wild ax-handle—you can’t control; NY92, Flying ax-handles; NY219, Flying ax-handles—the lumberjacks used to say. 1982 Smithsonian Letters, My father who was born, brought up, lived his life and died in Massachuset[t]s, had a saying that one afflicted with diarrhea had the . . Flying Battle Axes and Japanese Spatters. . . I do know that in New Hampshire and Maine a similar phrase was common, “Flying Axe Handles.”

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