Did You Know?
Illegitimi Non Carborundum
According to Safire's Political Dictionary, this "pseudo-Latin phrase meaning 'don't let the bastards grind you down'" has been around for some time. Small signs and plaques carrying this message have appeared in U.S. business offices and army posts since General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell used it as his motto in World War II. Carborundum is a trademark for silicon carbide, a leading commercial grinding substance. In politics, the motto was popularized by 1964 Republican nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, who hung a sign with a variation of this saying in his office. (Safire's Political Dictionary, p. 339)
- Safire's Political Dictionary
by William Safire. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Last updated by teeterj on Nov. 8, 2011
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