“Making Heads or Tails of Idioms” Newsletter. Volume 1. Issue 10.
Original Release: 9/23/2011
What was said? Go Pound Salt (aka Go Pound Sand)
Did someone really say that? Yes, in a meeting about a month ago, the client said “if we tell our sales teams that, they’ll tell us to GO POUND SALT!”
What does it mean? Basically another way to say “get lost” or “go away”
Origin: Apparently, “Go pound salt” is the less vulgar version of “go pound sand”. The origin of the expression “go pound sand” is from a longer expression, “not to know / have enough sense to pound sand down a rat hole.” Since filling rat holes with sand is menial work, telling someone to pound sand down a hole is like telling them to go fly a kite.
The phrase originated in the US and is more common in the Midwest. It dates back to the early 20th century in which a more vulgar version was used in 1969 by Max Yasgur when arguing with local dignitaries over bringing his Woodstock to Bethal, New York, saying: “Well, you can all go pound salt up your a@#, because come Aug 15, we’re going to have a festival!”
Earlier, a less vulgar version appeared in the Southeast Economist, Chicago, 1948: “From her store of memories, Mrs. Mary R. Stuart….recalls that ‘go pound sand in your ears’ meant to soft-pedal the noise”
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