By Maeve Maddox
The useful adjective hindmost might be shifting into the territory of the unfamiliar, where words become vulnerable to a change in significance.
The opposite of primary (” most forward or advanced in position”), the word hindmost is closely associated with the collocation, “Devil take the hindmost.”
As an adjective, hindmost denotes a set position of lagging something. In the devil idiom, hindmost is nominalized to represent individuals who can not maintain, who can not run quick enough to save themselves from an intruding evil.
The complete expression is “Every guy for himself, and let the Devil take the hindmost.”
This saying embodies the approach that people in problem need to be left to their fate. Its often heard in conversations of governmental social security nets, as in these headlines and book title:
Devil Take the Hindmost As Public Policy: The Social Security EditionDevil Take the Hindmost: Reform Considerations for StatesDevil Take the Hindmost? Private Health Insurance and the Rising Costs of American Exceptionalism Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation
As an adjective, hindmost continues to be utilized without confusion.
In the hindmost vehicle are the travelers headed for Philadelphia.Coconut crabs use their hindmost, tiniest set of legs to clean these breathing organs and to dampen them with water.The 2 hindmost stomach sections might be decreased or separated in the middle on the surface area to form two plates lying next to each other.
Some writers, wishing to prevent the commission of a cliché, take small liberties with the nominalized usage in the idiom, however even with the modifications, hindmost still clearly represents a group of people:
A great labor force and enthusiastic development [are] associated to good education, good health care and self-confidence that the devil will not take the hindmost.
The difficulty as I see it devolves into narrow interest groups that wish to retain the status quo and screw the hindmost.
Great plans will do more than funnel cash from latecomers to early takers, allowing the foremost to flourish at the expense of the hindmost.
The meaning of hindmost as used in this evaluation of a production of Hamlet starring Jude Law is difficult to recognize. Im guessing that here, the significance may also be “whats left over.”
This predicates frenzied continuously action as fancy, unsubtle and regularly jocular as possible, and the devil, or the more advanced theatergoer, take the hindmost.
I think the This that begins the sentence describes the truth that the production was targeted at a “neophyte audience” more interested in seeing Jude Law than they were in seeing a Shakespeare play. The presumption was that such an audience expected to see the murders managed sensationally. The “more sophisticated theatergoers,” on the other hand, were presumed to expect a conventional, not so fancy, variation of the play. The latter audiences, therefore, should delight in whatever elements of the play that are left to delight in.
Wrap-up: Hindmost as an adjective methods “farthest back in position.”
Hindmost with a post is a noun that indicates “someone or something bringing up the back.”
KEEP IN MIND: The verb take in “the Devil take the hindmost” has the sense of “to take, grasp, capture, catch.”
He and members of Congress all safeguard their programs, and the deficit takes the hindmost.
it was Congress that … cut taxes on the wealthy [who] bribed their method into getting tax cuts for their class and the rest take the hindmost.
Some authors, however, are subjecting the nominalized hindmost to a shift in significance.
In the two following examples, hindmost seems to suggest something like “whatever is left over.”
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I think the This that begins the sentence refers to the reality that the production was aimed at a “neophyte audience” more interested in seeing Jude Law than they were in seeing a Shakespeare play. The assumption was that such an audience anticipated to see the murders handled sensationally. The “more sophisticated theatergoers,” on the other hand, were presumed to expect a traditional, not so flashy, variation of the play. The latter audiences, for that reason, must delight in whatever aspects of the play that are left to enjoy.