Where did the phrase "diddly squat" come from and what does it mean?
- drPLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
Diddly Squat was born in a noisy inn on the outskirts of Philadelphia, at 3:00 PM on Thursday January 20th 1732. His mother was a waitress for this popular tavern of the day and was busy serving ale and beer nuts to the customers. She was Eliza Squat who married the no good Don't Have Squat who left her for another woman. Eliza named her son Diddly because of the jerky motions he would make while lying in his crib and it reminded her of the diddle a bow would make when playing her fiddle.
Diddly's childhood was largely consumed with aimless wanderings and living the life of a street urchin where he learned to play the banjo and began writing songs at the young age of fifteen years. His mother, now a waitress for a tavern in New York City encouraged Diddly to play his songs in the tavern and it was there in that tavern that Diddly Squat found his form and he sang passionately about tyranny and oppression and the colonists listened, and drank their ales, nodding in sober agreement to the protestant nature of Diddly's music.
After a few months of playing his banjo at the tavern, Diddly took his act and hit the road touring all thirteen colonies in a rented buggy and a mule. Slowly but surely Diddly Squat was getting noticed. Other musicians were playing his songs in the taverns and pubs that sprawled across the colonies. By 1750 Diddly was a huge sensation selling out opera houses to standing room only crowds singing about the American dream before America even had a dream. It was said at the time that Diddly Squat epitomized what it meant to be an American even though everyone agreed they had no idea what that meant.
Diddly's fame was so famous even the King of England wanted to check out his act. Tickets were so costly that many families found themselves with out a house or any food because they foolishly spent the rent money on tickets to go see Diddly Squat. In the state of Virginia a young George Washington, who has been grounded because he chopped down his fathers cherry tree, discovers his friend Benjamin Franklin has two tickets to go see Diddly play his banjo at the opera house in Richmond. Young George went directly to his father and pleaded his case. His father's only reply was; "Who's Diddly Squat?" Incredulous, as teens can be about their fathers, George stammered; "You don't know Diddly Squat?"
Years later, during the Revolutionary war General George Washington would often tell the troops stories of his childhood to boost their morale. One of the more popular stories amongst the troops was his story of his fathers refusal to let him go see Diddly Squat in Richmond Virginia. During the heat of battle when bullets were either whizzing by or bone shatteringly piercing flesh and cannon balls would either fly through the air exploding onto hapless soldiers or rolling thunderously across the field of battle doing its damage in a different way, the troops would often look at each other and smile knowingly, somebody inevitably saying what everybody was thinking. "What? You don't know Diddly Squat?"
Before long, the question became a battle cry as the passionate rebels who fought for freedom would cry; "You don't know Diddly Squat!" During one battle or some or other battle in one of those places they fought the revolution, the British had Washington and his army surrounded and it looked bleak for the colonists who now had a dream of dreaming the American dream. The same dream that Diddly Squat sang about so many years before. General Somebody or other from the British army sent a communique to General Washington offering him terms of surrender. In response Washington sent back a note that had one simple response: "You don't know Diddly Squat!"
This response so confounded General Somebody or Other and his military advisor's that their advantaged was compromised when the Americans charged the British while General Somebody or Other and his military advisor's were still deep in contemplation as to the meaning of Washington's reply to the demands of surrender. When General Somebody or Other was received by Washington after Somebody or Others surrender, the first question General Somebody asked was; "Who is Diddly Squat?"
The sad historic irony of this fiction is that while George Washington remains a prominent historical figure, the name Diddly Squat, while not forgotten, not remembered for the man who went by that name.
That should explain that diddly squat is worthless. 00
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang suggests that this is a derivation of doodly-squat from 1934.
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- Nora GLv 71 decade ago
it's a spin off of diddly sh!t , a southern or black euphemism
- third_wise_manLv 51 decade ago
it means poo all- basically, it means nothing
you have diddly squat = you have nothing
- 5 years ago