What does this expression mean?
June 7, 2020 7:44 AM   Subscribe

In Virginia Lee Burton’s book Mayebelle the Cable Car, there’s text when the cable car is taking a sharp turn: “K out for the curve!” What does this expression mean and what’s its origin?
posted by CMcG to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
Looking at Google Books, the text is
Down we go
On the other side
’K out for the curve.
It could be an clipped Look out for the curve.
posted by zamboni at 7:53 AM on June 7, 2020 [12 favorites]

Could be suggesting assuming the shape of a k to balance against the force of the turn
posted by bullatony at 8:19 AM on June 7, 2020

Theory: syllable count to indicate speed. The lines have 3, 5, 4, and 2 syllables respectively.
(“‘K out” to be pronounced “kout”)
posted by lothar at 8:32 AM on June 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not sure but it is referenced in this English Dialect dictionary as "K'out [look out]" See the first entry in K.
posted by vacapinta at 8:35 AM on June 7, 2020 [8 favorites]

I think it means assume the K position: While holding on to the post, extend outer arm out and upward at a 45° angle, and outer leg out and downward at a 45° angle. You know, let yourself hang out there. Highly unsafe but used to see people do it all the time.
posted by bricoleur at 11:43 AM on June 7, 2020

Actually, looking at the apostrophe in zamboni's post, I now agree with zamboni.
posted by bricoleur at 11:45 AM on June 7, 2020

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