What does this sentence mean, especially the usage of 'but'?

  • Well, bless their little pea-pickin' hearts but TMW has done it again.

Also what does TMW mean?

  • We would need further context to fully answer, please edit your question to tell us more. Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:25
  • "TMW" has dozens of meanings. Likely in this case it's referring to the initials of some person, but without context it's impossible to guess which person.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:37
  • Related: Bless your heart. It can be quite invective in context.
    – livresque
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 6:47
  • It's impossible to analyse this usage of 'but' without knowing what 'bless their little pea-pickin' hearts' conveys. (a) If it's merely mild condecension, the 'but' is a reluctant contrastive: those little-leaguers, I suppose you've got to give it to them, they've gone and done it (triumphed) again! // (b) If it's a term of endearment, the 'but' must be a "you're not going to believe this', hold on to your hat, what an achievement! intensifying marker. 'TMW has only gone and done it again! Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 15:11
  • 2
    The question is about an abbreviation that is specific to a particular context, not an established component of English language and usage.
    – jsw29
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


"Bless your little pea-pickin' heart" was a catch phrase coined by Tennessee Ernie Ford, a country singer and entertainer, in the middle of the last century.

[Ford] earned the nickname "The Ol' Pea-Picker" due to his catchphrase, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!" He began using the term during his disc jockey days on KXLA.

The term is one of mild condescension, a countrified variation of "Bless your heart," which was used more in Southern and rural US localities and in earlier times. "Pea-pickin'" is probably a slightly sweetened variation of "cotton-pickin'", which was a kind of minced oath in that era (i.e., a substitute for a word like "goddamn").

  • I look at it as more of a term of endearment instead of condescension. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 5:58

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