DEAR ABBY: I work in a small bakery. We have a very nice baker here who is an older gentleman. When he gets frustrated, he will shout out, "Son-of-a-rabbit-chaser!" We all laugh and have asked him what that saying actually means. He told us his father used to say it.
Now the entire bakery is trying to guess what this saying's true meaning and origin is. Can you help us out?
My boss seems to think a "rabbit chaser" is referring to a greyhound dog because they chase rabbits. I don't think that makes sense. I'm wondering if maybe it refers to a dirty old man chasing a younger woman, but that doesn't really make sense either. If you can shed any light on this, we would all appreciate it. -- DYING TO KNOW IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR DYING TO KNOW: According to my dictionary of American slang, when someone starts an exclamation with "son-of-a," it is usually to express "anger, annoyance, amazement or disappointment."
The animals that usually chase rabbits are dogs. Your baker may have grown up hearing his father use the expression because back then gentlemen weren't supposed to say "SOB" in front of ladies or impressionable children because it was considered too crude for tender ears. Ahh, those were the good old days.