Searches for the term "hunting geese with a rake" on google return only two matches. Both of those are quotations by David Crosby.

That was a term I heard when I was in college back in Montana in my younger days, and I was surprised at how uncommon it is on today's internet.

Thus, I'm mentioning it here to see if I can become the definitive reference for the term on the intarweb.

Oh, and the term is used by potheads to describe how high they are. Get it? Not that funny, I guess.

Random internet musings, part 23.


In 1946, George Orwell wrote Politics and the English Language, some of which explains the use of metaphor:

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution ) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed . Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning withouth those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line . Another example is the hammer and the anvil , now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Where in the continuum does this metaphor sit?

Kenneth Bowen

I'm not going to answer that question yet. However, I just want to note that this page is now the #1 result in google for the term "hunting geese with a rake" (all in quotes). It's #3 if you search for that term without quotes.

So this site is now the definitive reference for that term.


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