• tucker •
Pronunciation: têk-ê(r) • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, Noun
Meaning: 1. (Verb; US Regional slang) To tire completely, to exhaust, to fully wear out. 2. (Noun; Australian slang) Food.
Notes: Every now and then we like to toss in a popular slang or regional term and today we have just the word for that category: tucker as in "plumb tuckered out". This phrase is still moderately common down South, especially in the Southwest. Plumb in that phrase is just as interesting. Anything that is plumb is absolutely vertical, perfectly aligned, so it is easy to see how in some areas it became a synonym of absolutely and perfectly.
In Play: In addition to a geographical region where this word is heard, there is a generational region as well. Those of us in the upper age levels will be heard saying things like: "I don't like riding these new-fangled bicycles that don't even have wheels because they tucker me out something awful and I don't even get anywhere!" In Australia, you might hear something like this: "Tucker tucked away almost all the tucker before the party began."
Word History: A tucker was someone who finished woven materials by stretching them on tenters. Tuckers 'tucked', that is, stretched to the limit, newly woven cloth before putting it on sale. 'Plumb tuckered out' would be the state of someone who had just been stretched to their limit, as though on a rack. (Today's Good Word is dedicated to one of my childhood heroes, actor George 'Gabby' Hayes [1885-1969], pictured at the left, who often found himself "plumb tuckered out" from supporting the leading man in the 190 mostly western movies he played in.)