You scared the -what- out of them?
August 12, 2008 2:02 PM   Subscribe

What does it mean to 'scare the pewadden' out of someone? Where on earth did the word 'pewadden' originate from?

I ask partially for a friend, but now to satisfy my own curiosity. As a west coast kid, I'm used to weird words like 'skookum', but the phrase "Scare the pewadden out of me" is completely foreign to me. A google search reveals a grand total of four pages of results, each only with only an example of usage, and no definition. My friend is from the Seattle area, and learned it from her mother. I don't know where her mother is from originally.

Does anyone recognize this word, or would have a guess as to where it came from? Have I just spelled it wrong?
posted by billy_the_punk to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
Could it be a version of "scare the pudding" or "scare the puddin'"? Each of these turns up only about ten links on google, so it's not like this is a super-common expresion either, but that's what I thought of first.
posted by cider at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2008

A bit of creative googling turns up variants including "peewadden", "pee wadding", and "pea wadding". Different Internet Etymologists™ think it variously means
  1. the inside of a nappy or diaper, or
  2. the wadding that separates gunpowder from a musket ball.

posted by zamboni at 2:25 PM on August 12, 2008

My mom always says it "Pee-Waddlin" notice the L .....
I have no idea what it means, but she's from Oklahoma, so I imagine it's a southern thing.
posted by AltReality at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2008

Ditto AltReality, from Arkansas here.
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:56 PM on August 12, 2008

I just asked an elderly neighbour. (I've grown up with that phrase, too... PNW origin.) She said that older women sometimes can't hold their urine when they cough (true), and putting a wad of paper or fabric in their underwear served to catch any spurt of pee. To have that little wad fall out was a big embarrassment. Then she chuckled.
posted by reflecked at 5:05 PM on August 12, 2008

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