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to take someone "to the woodshed"

English translation: see explanation

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00:40 Mar 4, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / Phrase origins
English term or phrase: to take someone "to the woodshed"
From today's news:
"...suggested that Bill Frist had been taken to the woodshed by the White House."

This refers to the news item regarding the US Senate Majority leader, who recently said that the Social Security reform legislation might not make it to Congress this year, and now he says that it definitely will.

Apparently, Mr. Frist's first remarks were not to the liking of the White House, so he was "brought to task", "chastised", "reprimmanded", "chewed out", etc., all of which seem to be equivalent to being "taken to the woodshed" in this context.

In 25 years of living in the US I don't recall ever hearing (or reading) the expression, and I am curious as to its origins, and literal meaning. I suspect the original meaning of being "taken to the woodshed" was rather more sinister than simply being admonished.
George Rabel
Local time: 10:12
English translation:see explanation
Explanation:
It refers to being taken to the woodshed by your daddy for spanking.

These days it's used in a literal way of saying someone is being punished.

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Note added at 15 hrs 11 mins (2005-03-04 15:52:03 GMT)
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Laurel caught a blunder: of couse these days it\'s used in a figurative way, not a literal one.


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Note added at 17 hrs 38 mins (2005-03-04 18:19:33 GMT)
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My goodness, I\'m having a hard time typing today... of course, these days this expression is used in a figurative way, not a literal one.
Selected response from:

xxx@caduceus
United States
Local time: 08:12
Grading comment
Thank you, Renate, and all who contributed. Sorry for having graded erroneously before. It happens...
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +9see explanationxxx@caduceus
5to beat someone verbally, metaphorically or actuallyjuvera
3 +150travisiswrong
5 -1doing something not very legal, hidden
Lillian van den Broeck


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
to take someone
to beat someone verbally, metaphorically or actually


Explanation:
Or: put the wood on him, whip him.
References: www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/26/messages/856.html
www.sptimes.com/2003/01/28/Columns/Bucs_welcomed_victims.sh...

juvera
Local time: 15:12
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +9
to take someone to the woodshed
see explanation


Explanation:
It refers to being taken to the woodshed by your daddy for spanking.

These days it's used in a literal way of saying someone is being punished.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 hrs 11 mins (2005-03-04 15:52:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Laurel caught a blunder: of couse these days it\'s used in a figurative way, not a literal one.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 hrs 38 mins (2005-03-04 18:19:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

My goodness, I\'m having a hard time typing today... of course, these days this expression is used in a figurative way, not a literal one.


xxx@caduceus
United States
Local time: 08:12
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you, Renate, and all who contributed. Sorry for having graded erroneously before. It happens...

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Maria Chmelarova: ...and also with suggestion. I heard that today too.
5 mins

agree  Alp Berker
1 hr

agree  Yuri Geifman: I've seen this expression before
2 hrs

agree  Martine Brault
3 hrs

agree  Will Matter: Nancy is right, it was a crude but effective form of "reverse psychology", if you chose a thicker stick Dad might switch it to a thinner, more flexible one or vice versa, the point was that you learned NOT to do whatever it was that got you into trouble.
4 hrs

agree  NancyLynn: sometimes you had to choose your own switch and hand it to Daddy
4 hrs

agree  Laurel Porter: Yes - but these days it's used in a figurative way, not a literal one. Not necessarily punishment, but verbal chastisement.
6 hrs
  -> yes, that's what I meant to say

agree  Lillian van den Broeck: Wow! finally it's clear! :-)
13 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
30 days
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
to take someone
doing something not very legal, hidden


Explanation:
something behind closed doors,

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Note added at 1 day 15 hrs 20 mins (2005-03-05 16:01:09 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

These points belong to Renate.

Lillian van den Broeck
Mexico
Local time: 09:12
Works in field
Native speaker of: Spanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lys Nguyen
3 hrs
  -> Thanks Hoa

neutral  Will Matter: Not true, see above.
4 hrs
  -> Ok Will,

disagree  Tony M: I don't believe this is the usual meaning, see Renate's answer...
6 hrs
  -> Yes, I see, thanks Dusty.

disagree  Laurel Porter: Not at all - Renate has it.
6 hrs
  -> Thanks Laurel. Now I have it clear. :-)
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2287 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
50


Explanation:
It refers to Thomas Jefferson taking female slaves behind closed doors to make babies.

Example sentence(s):
  • Hey look, Thomas Jefferson is taking that girl out to the woodshed again.
travisiswrong

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  zorbo1603: Better used as in: "moving today took Anne and Craig to the Woodshed."
3 days3 hrs
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