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"Up in the night"
anybody else use this expression or know anything about its meaning/origin
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2013/10/16
1:34pm
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I grew up in Utah.  I always remember my brothers and sister using the expression "up in the night" to indicate that someone was clueless, or operating on a mistaken assumption.  It would go something like, "Well if he thinks he can walk in here and talk to people like that, well, he's just up in the night." or, "If she thinks she can run a business that way and be successful, well, she's just up in the night."

 

I've lived in New York for the last ten years, and now my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (both native New Yorkers) love to poke fun at me for my Utahisms, chief among them, "up in the night".  They have even gone so far as to say that I made the expression up myself, or that it is particular to my family.

 

I desperately need to prove to them that this is a real expression, used by people other than me and my siblings… Sooooo…  Any help would be great.  If anyone can verify that the expressions is used, if anyone knows anything about where it comes from, where it's used…  I would so happy (and vindicated) if I could even get just a little bit of info on this one…  Thanks!

2013/10/16
9:39pm
Robert
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If the expression is part of  Utahism, then it is not made up by a family or a few individuals.  It can not be both.  It seems the folks who raise the issue need to make up their mind which.

2013/10/17
12:10am
tromboniator
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I've discovered that there is a Utah rock band called Up in the Night. I suspect a connection to the expression you've cited, and I think your brother/sister-in-law should stop laughing at you.

 

Peter

2013/10/17
5:26am
Robert
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Now deeper in square 1.  Better if it's Texan or New Zealand or something.

2013/10/17
7:37am
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Yahoo has a question and answer from two years ago.

2013/10/17
8:49am
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Thanks Emmett.  I have seen that one before, but I sure would love to find something else out about this phrase.  Now it's become like an obsession, but I have no outlet for the obsession, because i am find precious little on it.  I'm beginning to believe that it is just far more rare an expression than I thought.  Google searches, blogs on Utahisms, searching phrase dictionaries, posting here…  all of it yields very little.  I thought everybody would be like, "oh yeah, I know that expression!  Your brother and sister in law are totally up in the night!"  I guess it might be me who's a little off base here though.  Thanks for the effort and peace!

2013/10/17
7:07pm
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Don't give up, Father C. "Sound on the goose" took me more than 4 years of Google searching and library visiting to find. The critical websites appeared late in the search--new stuff is coming on the web all of the time. The key that worked for me was splitting the phrase up when searching. Don't count of that working for you, but be very creative in your searching.

May you have success in your quest.

2014/04/24
7:59am
capryce
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I'm from Utah as well and have used this expression a lot. Now live in Canada and people look at me very confused when I use it.

2014/04/24
2:44pm
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Welcome to the forum, capryce! To address Father C's original question …

I grew up in WI and now live in AZ. Have to say I never heard that expression. I remember the first time I heard the phrase "all at sea" which dates back a couple centuries at least, and has a similar meaning. For example "When I learned the Earth rotated, I was all at sea." The meaning confused me at first, but at least that phrase has a solid etymological explanation. See it here: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/all-at-sea.html

So extrapolating from that, here's my best guess about "up in the night" (and this is just a guess) …

To be "up in the night" implies a state of confusion or or bewilderment for the reason that, if you are literally "up in the night" you are:

1. drowsy, or incoherent at best, or having a night terror or sleep-walking at worst

2. dealing with an environment that is poorly lit, confusing, and difficult to navigate

3. making an allusion to some entity that is "up in the night" sky, and thus difficult to identify, forcing the observer to guess its identity

Of course, my #2 and #3 guesses presuppose the phrase originated before the availability of artificial lighting. I had no luck searching for that phrase on Ngrams or the usual online etymological resources. I even tried Grant's slang dictionary, but no joy. Haven't heard much from Grant lately, and would be very interested to hear his (or Martha's) take on the etymology of this phrase.

2014/04/25
4:40am
deaconB
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http://upinthenight.net is an e-cimmerce website,

2014/04/25
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deaconB said: http://upinthenight.net is an e-cimmerce website,

True, but I don't see the relevance to Father C's original question. The logo for that website shows a crescent moon, and they sell lighting products that would most likely be used at night. Sure, they could have called themselves "Up at Night" or "In the Night" but I suspect their choice of "Up in the Night" is just a coincidence.

They are indeed a Utah-based company, so the phrase was likely in their consciousness. But I can't imagine they would use that name for their company knowing the meaning as explained by Father C. They probably just thought it sounded good. Their "About" page provides no clues.

Unless they're so self-effacing (rare in the corporate world) that they'd accept calling themselves the "Clueless Company."  :)

2014/04/26
3:49am
deaconB
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Most of mt eimhenge said

deaconB said: http://upinthenight.net is an e-cimmerce website,

True, but I don't see the relevance to Father C's original question. The logo for that website shows a crescent moon, and they sell lighting products that would most likely be used at night. Sure, they could have called themselves "Up at Night" or "In the Night" but I suspect their choice of "Up in the Night" is just a coincidence.

 

I thin it's deliberate.  A humorous name is memorable, and it's a lot cheaper to poke fun at yourself with a name like Yahoo than to achieve the same share of mind with a name like "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web"

A far as the meaning of the idiom, there are LOTS of jokes about sleepwalking. 

They are indeed a Utah-based company, so the phrase was likely in their consciousness. But I can't imagine they would use that name for their company knowing the meaning as explained by Father C. They probably just thought it sounded good. Their "About" page provides no clues.

Unless they're so self-effacing (rare in the corporate world) that they'd accept calling themselves the "Clueless Company."  :)

Still, the Hassenfield brothers' company was CLUEless before buying the Parker brothers' company in 1991.

Before DSM dropped the "Asperger's Syndrome" diagnosis, a lot of people were claiming to have that condition, which largely amounts to cluelessness.

2014/04/26
3:04pm
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deaconB said: I think it's deliberate.  A humorous name is memorable …

Good point. But I don't follow how "Yahoo" pokes fun at itself … that's an exclamation of joy or success. And the phrase "up in the night" is more self-deprecating than humorous (at least as Father C defines it). Check out these humorous company names. Now those are entertaining and memorable. Humor works.

So anyway, I sent an email to customer service at http://upinthenight.net this morning, asking about the origin of their company name. I'll post their response in this thread if and when I get it.

2014/04/26
4:23pm
deaconB
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p[Heimhenge said

deaconB said: I think it's deliberate.  A humorous name is memorable …

Good point. But I don't follow how "Yahoo" pokes fun at itself … that's an exclamation of joy or success.  

A yahoo is an uncultivated or boorish person, a lout.a philistine, a yokel.

Jonathon Swift coined the word yahoo , by changing the spelling of King Jehu, the son of Nimshi.  According to the Old Testament. Jehu drove his chariot like, well, he drove like a yahoo.  The "expression of joy or triumph" is a much more recent invention.

2014/04/26
7:27pm
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deaconB said

p[Heimhenge said

deaconB said: I think it's deliberate.  A humorous name is memorable …

Good point. But I don't follow how "Yahoo" pokes fun at itself … that's an exclamation of joy or success.  

A yahoo is an uncultivated or boorish person, a lout.a philistine, a yokel.

Jonathon Swift coined the word yahoo , by changing the spelling of King Jehu, the son of Nimshi.  According to the Old Testament. Jehu drove his chariot like, well, he drove like a yahoo.  The "expression of joy or triumph" is a much more recent invention.

Here is the entry from the OxED (Oxford English Dictionary to differentiate from another OED as mentioned in another thread) for the exclamation:
Etymology: Probably echoic. Compare yahoo n.
An exclamation of excitement, exultation, or delight. Cf. yoho int., yoo-hoo int.
In some cases supposedly characteristic of cowboys, esp. when executing daring feats on horseback, etc.
1976 F. A. Hoffmann in V. Randolph Pissing in Snow 85 The woman riding behind an Indian, who yells ‘Yahoo' when she grabs the saddle horn to mount and dismount.
1976 Beano 3 Jan. 6/2 Yahoo! I've won first prize in a crossword competition run by a lemonade company!
1986 More (N.Z.) Feb. 47/3 Isn't it great? Fancy getting 180 bucks a week… Yahoo!
1987 Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 23 June 12/3 He had heard a man yell ‘yahoo' and saw him hanging halfway out the back window of a vehicle travelling down the steep hill.
1989 Funny Fortn. 21 Oct. 7 Yahoo! My plan worked!

The first entry is from a researcher who collected Ozarks stories in the 1950s and before (I think). He could not publish the stories of 'Pissing in Snow' until 1976. BTW, the Indian rode a McClellan saddle (that everyone in-the-know knows does not have a saddle horn). You may want to get the book.

Otherwise, being a consumer Mountain Dew since the 1960s, I knew they used Yahooo on their bottles. Research has shown they used it as early as in the 1940s. I have shared that with the OxED but realize they have rules about a word being in books. I don't know if they will include a quotation from an advertisement on a bottle or six-pack box, but it is an earlier documented occurrence.

2014/04/26
7:56pm
Dick
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deaconB said

A yahoo is an uncultivated or boorish person, a lout.a philistine, a yokel.

Jonathon Swift coined the word yahoo , by changing the spelling of King Jehu, the son of Nimshi.  According to the Old Testament. Jehu drove his chariot like, well, he drove like a yahoo.  The "expression of joy or triumph" is a much more recent invention.

It is absolutely a more recent definition but it is absolutely the primary and most understood definition.  The Yahoo people are not engaging in self deprecation, nor is the"Up in the Night" company.  Common sense should prevail here.

2014/04/26
11:25pm
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Heimhenge said

deaconB said: I think it's deliberate.  A humorous name is memorable …

Good point. But I don't follow how "Yahoo" pokes fun at itself … that's an exclamation of joy or success. And the phrase "up in the night" is more self-deprecating than humorous (at least as Father C defines it). Check out these humorous company names. Now those are entertaining and memorable. Humor works.

So anyway, I sent an email to customer service at http://upinthenight.net this morning, asking about the origin of their company name. I'll post their response in this thread if and when I get it.

I'll do even better by responding directly.

And thanks for the interesting email.  It certainly entertained us today.  (For those who are wondering, I am one of the owners of Up In The Night).

When my wife and I were interested in starting our business, we felt we needed a catchy name.  It didn't take long to choose Up In The Night, and the moment it came up we both knew we'd found it."

A few years back, my wife and I used a certain real estate agent who used the phrase ad nauseam for anyone who was "fooling themselves" or "crazy."  For instance, a seller would be "up in the night with that price," or they would be "up in the night if they think we're going to believe that."  It was quite the running joke for us, and having known this particular realtor for more than a decade, a phrase she would never stop using.  So "up in the night" became a phrase for anything we intended to make light of.  Insufficient cheese inside a taco was up in the night.  A dog pooping on the yard was up in the night.  Running out of milk was up in the night, and much more.

So when it came time to name our business, Up In The Night just seemed right.  We did it knowing full well that the phrase meant very little outside of Utah, but was simple enough that anyone could remember it.  And in some small way, it was a jab at the realtor, who was up in the night for using it all the time.

In the years I've lived in Utah (I'm not native to the state), I've heard the phrase used for just about anything (even before our perversion of it).  It seems to replace words and phrases like crazy, stupid, idiotic, foolish, clueless, kidding themselves, expensive, crazy, and more.  Most Utahns recognize it when they hear it, and I've had a lot of chuckles from locals when I tell them about my company.  I haven't really had any reactions from customers outside of the state, which are the majority of them.  We use the crescent moon logo (and black background) because of the "night" aspect of the phrase.  We didn't always sell lighting as our primary line, but the name fits better now since we're almost exclusively selling lighting products.

Thought I'd add my two cents, as it were.  On a personal note, when I'm not answering email for my business, I'm also a writer with a day job to pay the bills.

-epal

2014/04/27
3:05am
deaconB
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EmmettRedd said

Otherwise, being a consumer Mountain Dew since the 1960s, I knew they used Yahooo on their bottles. Research has shown they used it as early as in the 1940s. I have shared that with the OxED but realize they have rules about a word being in books. I don't know if they will include a quotation from an advertisement on a bottle or six-pack box, but it is an earlier documented occurrence.

Actually, their advertising didn't say Yahoo, it said "Ya Hooo".  You can find one of their tun signs at http://www.stationbay.com/mountain-dew-itll-tickle-your-innards-tin-sign.html

As far as "earlier documented" evidence goes, the gummint has been publishing the utterances of yahoos in the Congressional Record for a really long time.

2014/04/27
3:26am
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epalmatier said
 
  Insufficient cheese inside a taco was up in the night.  

An interesting usage.  I'd have expected "on a taco" instead of "inside a taco" as a taco is open rather than being bounded by the shell.

Is this another Utahism?

(Sounds like you have a great marriage.  Congrats!)

2014/04/27
5:28am
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epalmatier said

I'll do even better by responding directly.

And thanks for the interesting email.  It certainly entertained us today.  (For those who are wondering, I am one of the owners of Up In The Night).

-epal

Welcome. And thank you for responding in person. We are honored.

It happens that just a few days ago I stumbled upon your website when looking online for a lighting solution to an odd problem area in my son's apartment.

All the best both on your website and your writing. Clearly you have a way with words.

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