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Ben Zimmer on Language Log writes about Donald's recent use of "best not" in his quote, "North Korea best not make any threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." The thoughts were that it sounded more southern or like it was from a Western. I remember one of my Wisconsin friends saying, "We'd best go..."

Have you seen it used?
 
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Yes.
 
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I grew up in Maryland and I have heard that here.


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Now that I think about it, I've used it before, too. It seems to come from the past tense of "better?" "I'd better go" - but instead "I'd best go," do you think?
 
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Superlative rather than past tense,it seems to me. Good, better, best.
 
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In Old and Middle English the construction was him were better "it would be better for him" where him was dative. It is possible that the later construction he had better "he would find it better or preferable" arose from this. The earliest citation of a superlative is you had best from 1559.
 
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Yes.


So - how about a little detail? Is it common that you hear it, Geoff? If not, would you consider it more a regionalism? I tend to think it is a regionalism.
 
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Found on a language blog:

The definition and etymology of Trump

 
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Trump: vt. slang break wind audibly
From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
Trump (v.): “fabricate, devise,” 1690s, from trump “deceive, cheat” (1510s), from Middle Englishtrumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper “to deceive,” of uncertain origin. Apparently from se tromper de “to mock,” from Old French tromper “to blow a trumpet.” Brachet explains this as “to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks, who attracted the public by blowing a horn, and then cheated them into buying ….” The Hindley Old French dictionary has baillier la trompe “blow the trumpet” as “act the fool,” and Donkin connects it rather totrombe “waterspout,” on the notion of turning (someone) around. … Trumped up “false, concocted” first recorded 1728.
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This entry was posted in Etymology, Jokes and puns, Words, phrases & expressions and tagged trump definition, trump etymology on September 17, 2015 by Louise.


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This reminds me of the definition of trump, meaning to "trump up" or, as dictonary.com puts it, "to devise deceitfully or dishonestly, as in an accusation" (think of Obama's birthplace) or "fabrication" (think of the number of people at Donald's inauguration). Such an interesting observation, Proof!
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:


So - how about a little detail? .
It's so ingrained in my speech that I can't remember when or where I've heard it most often. Sorry to be no help.
 
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The only time I've actually heard the phrase used was by my aunt (who died twenty years ago. When her kids were about to do something she didn't like, she'd say in the most disapproving tone, "You'd best not do that." It generally worked.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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As I shift my thoughts back to when I've heard it, I seem to remember that it as shorthand for "You had best not." Reworded, "It would be best if you didn't do it."
 
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Yes, Geoff. That sounds right how I've heard it too.
 
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