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I just remembered this saying
Hen Muckle Dung
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Anyone ever heard of Hen Muckle Dung?   My dad, who was born and raised in West Virginia, used this phrase to describe the sky when the sun is setting and  all of the vibrant colors are  gone.   I’ve never heard anyone else use this phrase.   Maybe it’s something my dad made up.

Anyone have any ideas?



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‘Dun’ is a tannish, grey color often applied to horses. I have also heard (from my late mother), ‘muckledee dun’. She lived almost all of her life in southwest Missouri.

Added in edit: dictionary.com says ‘muckle’ means ‘much’.

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While I find it in no dictionaries, there are loads and loads of examples going way back of muckle-dun (alt. muckledun or muckle dun), and a few of muckle-dung (alt. muckledung or muckle dung) — all with the meaning of a nondescript neutral color, often with a pejorative connotation.

“… his sky-muckle-dun-colored waistcoat …”
” … it was a gray-muckle-dun color … “
” … had some shit-muckle-dun-colored goop … “

I also see it used adjectivally to modify a color:
” … painted a sort of muckle—dun brown.”

I found one used adjectivally in a run-on compound adjective modifying yellow:
“A large, muckle-dun-brindle-yellow Jersey [cow] slipped … “

And a few refer to an animal (presumed to be muckle-dun colored) simply as a muckle-dun. I suppose that is similar to the way in which we can refer to an animal as “a brindle” or “a tabby.”

As for the “hen” part, a few of the references do seem to provide for some subtle hue modification by preceding muckle-dun with some noun or color (see above). I would suppose that hen-muckle-dun would be a drab neutral color shading toward the red-brown. I am, of course, thinking of a red-brown hen.

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