"Bewitched", sung by Ella Fitzgerald and others, begins:

After one whole quart of brandy
Like a daisy, I'm awake
With no Bromo-Seltzer handy
I don't even shake

Men are not a new sensation
I've done pretty well I think
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink

I'm wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered - am I

What does the "half-pint imitation" refer to? Surely she's not saying that her lover is a "half-pint imitation" of a man? That would not make sense, as she's so infatuated with him.

  • 2
    It is a sort of double meaning. "Half pint" could refer to a bottle of liquor, or it could refer to a short person (literally or figuratively). In this case it appears to imply that she handles "full quart" guys pretty well, but this person, whom she presumably underestimated initially, has swept her off her feet.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 21, 2017 at 21:18
  • "Half-pint" here refers to moral and artistic stature, not physical. The song's originally from Pal Joey and its subject is the title role, a second-rate entertainer. In the reprise at the end the woman sings "Wise at last / My eyes at last / Are cutting you down to your size at last". (But it's true that the original Joey, Gene Kelly, was a small man, 5'-7".) Jan 21, 2017 at 21:47
  • @StoneyB Re Gene Kelly, a man of medium height, surely. Still a great hoofer. The average height of a British Tommy in the Great War (1914-18) was 5'-6", 5'8" in the Second World War. Jan 22, 2017 at 5:38
  • @PeterPoint The necessary comparison however is to the average height of leading men. Kelly was about the same height as Bogart, Rains, Crosby, Sinatra, Ladd. Jan 22, 2017 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


"Half-pint" in this context means inferior or lightweight (in the sense of lacking gravitas). Meriam-Webster's secondary meaning is a "short, small or inconsequential person". It can also be used to refer to a kid.

"on the blink" means broken or not functioning (the origin of the phase is discussed at StackExchange here).

@HotLicks has hit it on the nose in her comment when she states: "this person, whom she presumably underestimated initially, has swept her off her feet."

  • Good analysis. The whole song, and Porter in general, is brimming with irony. The only reason the singer thinks it's good to be a meak "child again" is that she is moved to drop her armor and open her heart. Jan 30, 2017 at 23:00

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