Letters, Oct. 11, 1937

South's Exception


I am sure that it is a very foolish thing for me to expose myself in a discussion with such a learned gentleman as Leslie White of the Department of Anthropology of the University of Michigan [TIME, Sept. 20].

However, the records on "spittin' image" should certainly be kept straight. I don't think that the expression has anything to do with saliva.

It originated, I believe, among the darkies of the South and the correct phrasing—without dialect—is "spirit and image." It was originally used in speaking of some person whose father...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!