On the Origin of Tuckered Out

Tucker cars were ahead of their time.

Tucker cars were ahead of their time.

I used the phrase “tuckered out” recently and, as it happens from time to time, I wondered what on earth I was really saying. I mean, was there a guy named Tucker who was famous for being lazy or tired? Did it have anything to do with the now-defunct car company of the same name? Where did it come from?

Well, according to the internet (and you can always believe the internet), it comes from the Old English root word “tuck” which means “punish or torment”. So to be tuckered would be the same as being punished or tormented. Kind of harsh, but I can see the correlation. If you work hard all day, punishing your body with strenuous activity, of course you are going to be tuckered out.

This is a plum. Not a plumb.

This is a plum. Not a plumb.

The phrase gained popularity in the vernacular of the Old West, where it is seldom used without the prefix “plumb”, as in, “Diggin’ in that gol’ danged gold mine has left me plumb tuckered out!” And since plumb means “whole or entire”, it just amplifies the meaning of being tired to mean “completely worn out”. This isn’t to be confused with plum, which is a fruit.

Torture Devices Not Pictured: Country Music

Torture Devices Not Pictured: Country Music

So the next time you use the phrase “tuckered out” or “plumb tuckered out”, remember that you are really saying that something was torturous, so maybe refrain from using the phrase if you are tired because you just got done doing something enjoyable. Like mowing. Or something else you might enjoy that takes significant amounts of energy.

What? Some people really like mowing.

7 thoughts on “On the Origin of Tuckered Out

  1. Seriously! You can be normal and like mowing. At least that’s what my therapist tells me.
    Also, nice post babe.

  2. A tucker is a man’s old fashioned undershirt–there’s a phrase that means “get all dressed up” –“get on your bib and tucker”. So if you’re all tuckered out it probably means you’re ready to strip down to your tucker (what you’d sleep in) and go to bed.

  3. Pingback: The world still doesn’t need another blog. | Josh Mosey | Writer

  4. All this plum farmin’ has got me plumb tuckered out.Truth is I aint no plum farmer. Just JOSHing you, I’m gonna MOSEY down to the market for store-bought plums.
    I thought tuckered out might have something to do with being tucked into bed which my parents would do at “tuck-in time”.
    Tuckered is also similar in use to the British “knackered” . I don’t where the Brits came up with that one.

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