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Around the Stump Expressions

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Ann from Fort Worth, Texas, says her elderly aunt was talking disparagingly about two people who, in her words, wet around the same stump. This expression isn’t all that common, but it does appear in Sarah Bird’s 1999 novel Virgin of the Rodeo. Another version, to smell around the same stump, is likewise rare, but also suggests that the two people are thick as thieves or at least have much in common. The word stump figures in several colloquial English expressions where the stump is a metaphorical point of contention or a problem that needs to be solved. Two ways of getting around the same stump means two ways to solve a problem. There’s also the phrase go around the same stump, and whip or beat the devil around the same stump, which means to avoid one’s responsibilities. This is part of a complete episode.

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