New Yorker (November 6) carries an excerpt from legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy’s book, “Let me off at the top,” which includes the following sentence referring to his experience in Gauntlet, the anchorman training camp in Pennsylvania in his early days:
“The main goal of the Gauntlet was to test if you had the avocados for anchorman work. Could you hold your liquor? Could you tell the difference between bespoke and off-the-rack suits? Could you seduce women through a camera lens? Test after test of skills. - - - On and on for two, sometimes two and a half hours a day!”
Any English dictionary provides definition of avocado as a fruit, but none of Cambridge, Oxford and Merriam Webster includes ‘have the avocados’ as an idiom.
Then, I found the following explanation of ‘avocado’ in www.todayifoundout.com:
“The word Avocado comes from an Aztec word “ahuácatl” meaning testicle. It is thought that the reference is either due to the avocado’s shape or the fact that it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztecs.”
This led me to interpret “have the avocados” as “have guts, or characteristic qualities.” Am I right?
Is “have the avocados” the common idiom that can be used in writing, and speak in public?
I checked Google Ngram Viewer. “Have balls” was current already in circ.1840 at the incidence level of 0.0000017063%. The use of the word had dwindled down to 0.0000004812% level in 1950, and then started to pick up to 0.0000016024% in 2008.
The usage of ‘have avocados” emerged around 1920, and the usage rose to 0.00000007% level in 2008, but is still low by 2 digits as compared with “have balls.”
With regard to “have the avocados” as used by Ron Burgundy, Ngram Viewer responded me “Ngrams not found [have the avocados]. The Ngram Viewer is case sensitive. Check your capitalization!”