Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'm your huckleberry

19th century slang which was popularized more recently by the movie Tombstone. Means "I'm the man you're looking for". Nowdays it's usually used as a response to a threat or challenge, as in the movie. 
"Who thinks they can beat me?"

"I'm your huckleberry." 

The etymology of the phrase is traced back to Aurthurian Lore. Huckleberry Garlands were said to be given to Knights of the Kingdom for coming to the service of a damsel. They would approach the lady, lower their lance, and receive the small branch as a symbol of gratitude; much like a medal.
Therefore, "I'm Your Huckleberry" literally means "I'm your Hero."

In current adaptations, in reference to the movie Tombstone, it means "I'm your man." as an affirmative response to a challenge.


All these responses are silly assumptions!

In the movie he didn't say "I'm your huckleberry", he said "I'm your HUCKLEBEARER". His accent in the movie makes it hard to hear. In the 1800's little handles on a coffin were called "huckles", an English term. Instead of pallbearers the people who carried the coffin were called "hucklebearers" at the funeral.

This is why the other guy got so bent outta shape when Doc said "I'm your hucklebearer". He was telling the other guy "I'm your pallbearer" or literally I'm causing your funeral. This is why it was so offensive and the shooting started.

I'm your huckleberry comes from a very classic and hot western movie called tombstone. this phrase means I'm the perfect man for the job. 
Jimmy: Who here wants to fight?

Holliday: I'm your huckleberry

Jimmy: Well come on then pus.

Holliday: Pulls out 12 gauge shottie

-Boooooom- Jimmy dies 

You play 'Tom Sawyer' and I will be your 'daddy' in this game as Tom 'kinda' looked up to Huck (in my humble opinion). Ala Mark Twain.

And I will jump into your game Like 'Huck Finn', and give you a "shel·lack·ing" (As the most Hon. Sir Sean Connery could only say properly). And we will "tear-this moTHa-out". +))
Your boss comes by and asks you to justify your 'ExisTenz' by telling him how you deserve to get a paycheck this week.
And you reply: "...I'm your huckleberry..."

From Wikipedia:

Huckleberries hold a place in archaic American English slang. The tiny size of the berries led to their use as a way of referring to something small, often affectionately as in the lyrics of Moon River. The phrase "a huckleberry over my persimmon" was used to mean "a bit beyond my abilities". "I'm your huckleberry" is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job. The range of slang meanings of huckleberry in the 19th century was fairly large, also referring to significant persons or nice persons.

So...is it "I'm your huckleberry" or "I'm your hucklebearer" that Doc Holliday says in Tombstone?

You decide.

"Fight's not with you, Holliday."

"I beg to differ, sir. We started a game we never got to finish. Play for blood - remember?"

"I was just foolin about."

LOL! Because boy you can bet that Ringo knows what he's up against with Doc Holliday. The Doc can jerk that pistol like nobody's bisness - and at that, while being consumed by tuberculosis! One of the things the movie gets correct about the real Doc Holliday. A posthumous gunslinger who could out-sling anyone! I do believe he also died a Catholic convert!


I love Bill Paxton's look when they start speaking Latin. LOL!


Enbrethiliel said...


The unclear line from a Michael Biehn movie that I argue about the most is "____, we are leaving!" from Aliens. Did Hicks address all the "marines" or just "Drake"? I'll bet Biehn gets tired of answering that question at cons. LOL!

Paul Stilwell said...

Ah, I looked it up because I haven't seen Aliens for a while: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIVediB0sZo

Funny how those two words could sound so close!

For me I think the 'k' sound just seems too distinct to put my money on "marines".

Belfry Bat said...

From OED.com (I still have a library membership!)

huckleberry, n.
Pronunciation: /ˈhʌk(ə)lbɛrɪ/

3. A person, spec. (derogatory) a person of little consequence.
[1835 Gent's. Vade-Mecum (Philadelphia) 22 Aug. 2/4 Orson, the wild man of the woods is nothing to him—not a circumstance—not a huckleberry.]
1868 New Eng. Base Ballist 3 Sept. 17/1 Now then, my huckleberry, look sharp! you're wrong!
1889 ‘M. Twain’ Connecticut Yankee xxvi. 340 The Saracen..is no huckleberry.

4. In various phrases: to be someone's huckleberry : to be someone's sweetheart, friend, or partner; to be a huckleberry to (or over) someone's persimmon : a proverbial phrase (see quots.).
1832 J. K. Paulding Westward Ho! I. ix. 80 If the [broad-]horn gets broadside to the current, I wouldn't risk a huckleberry to a persimmon that we don't every soul get treed, and sink to the bottom.
1834 D. Crockett Narr. Life ix. 70 But to do this, and write the warrants too, was at least a huckleberry over my persimmon.
1856 W. G. Simms Eutaw 553 My larning ain't a huckleberry to your persimmon.
1880 A. A. Hayes New Colorado (1881) v. 68 The first words that we heard him speak settled his nationality, for..he sententiously remarked, ‘Hi'm 'is 'uckleberry.’
1885 D. D. Porter Incidents Civil War 204 ‘I am the fleet-surgeon of the Mississippi squadron!’..‘I'm a huckleberry above that persimmon, 'cause I'm the chief cook.’
1889 J. S. Farmer Americanisms (at cited word), ‘The persimmon above one's huckleberry’,..an avowal of disbelief in one's ability to perform..a given task or undertaking.
1926 N. N. Puckett in Opportunity Mar. 84/2 Sir, you is a huckleberry beyon' my persimmon.
1936 J. Tully Bruiser (1946) 37 Well, I'm your huckleberry, Mr. Haney.
1951 Publ. Amer. Dial. Soc. xv. 56 I'll be your huckleberry.

There doesn't seem to be any OED knowledge of "huckle" as special form of "handle"; so I think that guy was Just Making Up Stuff.

Paul Stilwell said...

I don't think he was just making stuff up.

Down in the town of Tombstone the tour guides tell visitors that pallbearers were called hucklebearers in the south, or that part of the south. The tour guides tell people that what Doc Holliday was saying in the film Tombstone was "hucklebearer". Whether it's true or not is perhaps debatable (let's see the movie script), or whether it has historical veracity is perhaps debatable (being a supposedly rather provincial slang, it would be rather hard to prove either way). But it has something to it, and the guy obviously picked it up from the tour guides down in Tombstone. So I wouldn't toss it off as just made up because you didn't find it in your library.

From free dictionary:

huckle (ˈhʌkəl)

1. (Anatomy) the hip or haunch
2. a projecting or humped part

"A projecting or humped part" could quite easily suit for the projecting on the side of coffin.

Considering also that coffins are carried relative to the hip part of the body of the pallbearer, one could see that also fitting.

Belfry Bat said...

Hm. Well, I certainly shouldn't be one to deny the reliability of Received Tradition. Like, what does "boulevard" mean, when people around you say it? And should all of those options be in some dictionary?