Slang is a type of language that evolves in a community through literature or word of the tongue. Some slang is difficult to trace or understand because of its informal usage and lack of literal meaning. If you are from the south, you may have overheard people saying, 'I'll be your Huckleberry.' It is an old slang that still exists, especially in the state of Texas and Georgia. Not all slang gets to be adopted by the general culture. The 'I'll be your Huckleberry' slang has traveled all its way from old Europe to this part of the world. It is a catchphrase that is so striking it can provoke curiosity in the unfamiliar eavesdropper. In the early 1990s, the old phrase surged to its popularity yet again. And no, it's not because of Huckleberry Finn. All of it we owe to Doc Holliday, a celebrated historical figure from the south. The movie "Tombstone" featured Holliday's story in the most accurate way possible and created the most popular catchphrase in Hollywood history.
History and Facts of "I'll Be Your Huckleberry"
In the Arthurian lore, huckleberry is a symbol of commitment and service. Drapes of huckleberry garland betoken Oath of Allegiance or Oath of Fealty to a lord and his kingdom. A knight would receive it to his lance as a symbol and reminder that divine punishment awaits him if he swore falsely. It is also customary for a knight to lower his lance to accept a huckleberry garland from his rescued damsel. The act and the huckleberry garland signifies that this knight is her champion. The slang, 'I'll be your huckleberry' was created from this context, and it connotates, 'I'll be the man for the job,' 'I'll be your champion,' or 'I'm your champion.' King Arthur and his lore started to gain global popularity in the early 12th-century. And variations of the huckleberry slang have been created and recreated to enrich the language and add playfulness, in a rather serious situation.
Tombstone is a book authored by Walter Noble Burns, first published in 1927. The book was a mixture of fictional and factual events. Most accounts were actual incidents that occurred in the city of Tombstone in Arizona during the 1800s. Burns tried to be as exact as possible by interviewing older locals in Cochise County. This book captured the attention and inspired historians and screenwriters that in 1993, the movie Tombstone was inspired and released. And the slang variation 'I'm your Huckleberry' was brought into the limelight again. Val Kilmer delivered the most astounding job in his portrayal of Doc Holliday. For those who have seen the movie, the sound of that phrase 'I'm your Huckleberry' is like a beautiful echo that will serve as a reminder of rougher times. According to historians, the usage of this slang by Doc Holliday was an accurate depiction of his character. It was a popular slang in the south back then that means, 'I'm the man you're looking for,' or 'I'm the man for the job.' The Arthurian lore was popular in the south during the 1800s, and it is no surprise that this influence manifested in the language.
Written by: jlhugo