Piss and Vinegar

Meaning

What does Piss and Vinegar mean?

Piss and vinegar is an idiomatic phrase, used to describe someone as full of vigor, acting rowdy and wild, with Three Sheets to the Wind.

It is possibly the vulgar form of another colloquialism, used with the same meaning, with a similar form: Vim and Vigor.

Origin

What's the origin of Piss and Vinegar?

Although the exact origin of the phrase “Piss and vinegar” is not known, it is widely associated with sailors, who had a wide variety of expressions for a rowdy, drunken state.

The “clean” version of the colloquialism, “Vim and vigor” emerged at the end of the 19th century, and was popular until the 1940’s, when “Piss and vinegar” started to step on the scene, possibly replacing its predecessor.

One of the earliest documented cases of the titular phrase comes from the 1939 novel of John Steinbeck, titled “The Grapes of Wrath”.

Spread & Usage

How did Piss and Vinegar spread?

“Piss and vinegar” became a popular expression among soldiers serving in World War 2, who took it home with them from the frontlines, spreading it across the entire United States.

During the second half of the 20th century, countless citations of the phrase had occurred in print, as well as mass media, such as television series and films.

“Piss and vinegar” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on February 27th, 2006, with several other entries following.

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