pound sand down a rathole v phr Also pour sand down (or in) a rathole, pound sand; for addit varr see quots
1 Fig: to do the simplest thing—usu used in phrr not to know (or have sense) enough to pound sand down a rathole and varr. chiefly west of Missip R, N Cent, Upstate NY See Map Cf pour piss out of a boot1912 DN 3.581 wIN, He wouldn’t know enough to pound sand in a rat-hole; so don’t get him. 1914 DN 4.79 ME, nNH, Sand in a rat-hole, don’t know enough to pound. . . Very stupid. 1923 DN 5.219 swMO, Don’t know enough to pound sand in a rat hole. . . Stupid. Also, Don’t know enough to pound akerns in a woodpecker hole. 1927 AmSp 2.364 cwWV, That man does not have sense enough to pound sand in a rat hole. 1937 Crane Let Me Show You VT 31, Ignorance, especially of the kind that lacks even common sense . . “Don’t know enough to pound sand in a rat-hole.” 1950 WELS WI (“He hasn’t sense enough to _____.”) 7 Infs, Pound sand in (or into, down) a rathole; (“He doesn’t know _____.”) 1 Inf, Enough to pound sand. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. JJ15a, . . “He hasn’t sense enough to _____.”) 62 Infs, widespread exc C and N Atl, Sth, S Midl, Pound sand down (or in, into) a rathole; 16 Infs, scattered, but less freq Atl, Sth, S Midl, Pour sand down (or in) a rathole; IL26, MI68, 103, NY9, WI13, Pound sand; AK5, CA66, Pound dirt in a rathole; OK1, Pound sand in ratholes; SD5, Put sand in a rathole; MO5, Pour sand in the rathole; OK1, Pour sand in ratholes; [TX104, Pound sand in a boot;] NY28, Pound salt in a rathole; AR56, Pestle sand in a rathole; IL15, OK6, Drive sand in(to) a rathole; MI51, Pound salt; CO27, Pack sand in an anthole; (Qu. JJ15b, . . “He doesn’t know _____.”) Infs CO47, KY70, Enough to pour sand in a rathole; MI68, 108, Enough to pound sand; MN30, Enough to pound sand in a rathole. 1975 Gould ME Lingo 218, Pound sand—Another measurement of degree of intelligence: “He don’t have brains enough to pound sand in a rat hole!” . . The term is also used for wasted time that might have been profitably engaged: “The lumber didn’t come, so the carpenters pounded sand all afternoon.” 1985 Ladwig How to Talk Dirty 14 Ozarks, He’s so dumb he couldn’t pound sand in a rathole. 1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance , 1 inf, nwGA, Easy as pounding sand in a rathole. 1992 Houston Chron. (TX) 5 Apr sec G 1, Inept. . . Didn’t have sense enough to pound sand in a rat hole.
2 Fig: to do something pointless; to waste time; hence imper phr go pound sand down a rathole (and varr) go away, mind your own business.1958 McCulloch Woods Words 138 Pacific NW, Pound sand down a rat hole—a. To do nothing. b. To work at some useless job. 1960 Criswell Resp. to PADS 20 Ozarks, Pound sand in a rat-hole. . . To occupy oneself at a futile task. Used in comparisons, “like pounding sand in a rat-hole.” Still very common. 1967–69 DARE (Qu. II22, Expressions to tell somebody to keep to himself and mind his own business) Inf MA15, Go pound sand in a rathole; MA16, Go pound sand; NY7, Go pound salt. 1975 [see 1 above].