Sock it to me
“Sock it to me”, an expression that became popular in the late sixties made popular by Judy Carne far left in the above photo and even used by President Nixon. But, where did it come from. Where is it going? My son who is 26 has heard it before but doesn’t know where. So I looked a little deeper.
Socks from what I could find started as far back as 700 BC Greek farmers were known to line their boots with felted wool for extra comfort and a little protection from the elements. When the Romans first invaded Northern Europe, then called Gaul they wore what they called udones which were the first sewn foot coverings. Udones were also made from wool and were worn both as lining for your boots or just by themselves as a simple foot covering. No one knows the exact first time they were worn or invented but were fairly common through the second century.
The first pair of knit socks appeared shortly after this. Guess they had to discover how to knit fist. I find it fascinating that socks are still knitted today even though the process is almost totally automated. The socks at that time were made using a one stick knitting process. Examples were found throughout Egypt, Syria and Holland. The process at the time was complicated and extremely rare. It only began growing in popularity in the 12th century but usually only for the privileged.
Stockings only started becoming popular in the 17th century when most people could afford a pair or two for themselves. From that point on the process grew and the art of knitting socks got better and better. Around the time of the civil war when at times weapons and ammunition became rare the fighting needed to continue. Often a few soldiers were sent into combat with only one rifle to share. Improvisation was often needed. It is said that this was about the time the “Sockdolager” was invented. Basically a large heavy link from a ship chain dropped into a sock was the first inscription of this weapon. Extremely crewed but very effective. Of course there have been many variations on this basic idea over the years leading all the way up to the black jack which is made of leather wrapping a lead weight and still used today.
So the expression sock it to me originated during the civil war as sock it to them, or “sock them” and “Why don’t you sock them in the nose?”. Variations were used on and off in everyday language until the late 60’s when a small very cute blond girl “Judy Carne” used the expression while doing a dance in a string bikini on the TV show “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In”. It’s kind of interesting that the expression around one hundred years old began to bloom and become popular again. In my opinion at the time it was simply a cute girl in a small bikini at the time would make any phrase popular.
When you think you need some new socks,” Sock it to us”! We could use the business.