n. A shed in which firewood is stored.
t.v. Slang to practice on a musical instrument.—The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000
n.: an arduous rehearsal especially for a radio program,
n. from English woodshed; from woodsheds being formerly used in administering sound parental thrashings--Webster's Second
According to woodshedder Sam Grayson, "[w]oodshedding, in its purest form, is wildly extemporaneous and impromptu. It was originally called “ear-singing” and was the prevalent means of harmonizing among amateur groups (and even some professionals) for years up until about 1950, when written arrangements became the norm. It is the barbershop equivalent of the afterhours jam session or the pickup touch-football game.
barbershop.org(15 March 2007) Barbershop harmony society
"In Lou Friedman's review of the LP "Essential Glenn Miller " we learn that before his Army stint, [Glenn] Miller had woodshedded under the tutelage of some of the finest swing practitioners of that era. He played with both Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey (who used Bing Crosby as vocalist at times), famous drummer Gene Krupa, and even cut some sides with Goodman. So Miller was no stranger to the swing and swingers of that time."--Lou Friedmamhttp://www.popmatters.com/
"In rating the prosecutors, Mr. Sampson factored in whether they “exhibited loyalty to the president and attorney general,” according to documents released by the Justice Department. In one e-mail message, Mr. Sampson questioned a colleague about the record of the federal prosecutor in San Diego, Carol C. Lam. Referring to the office of the deputy attorney general, Mr. Sampson wrote: “Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?” Ms. Lam was one of the seven fired prosecutors."
--From ‘Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows by DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC LIPTON,The New York Times, 14 March 2007.
BLOGGIN' JOHN COMMENTS:
Extrapolating notions and nuance from the definitions and citations above, we can conclude that, as a generalized term, "woodshedding" is a private meeting in which an authority figure or expert instructs, encourages, or repremands one or more associates or aspirants.--B'n'J'n.
Thus, in the excerpt above about Federal Prosecutor Lam, Mr. Sampson queries a colleague about whether Lam has been woodshedded about her enforcement of imigration law--meaning, Has she been instructed, "given the drill," or coached on current expectations in the Justice Department about selection of imigration cases and their prosecution?
Woodshedded is a clever conflation of two figures of speech, each involving some sort of substitution. In one of the figures--metonymy [me-ton'-y-mee]--one word is substituted for another; in the other--anthimeria [an-thi-me'-ree-a]--one part of speech is substituted for another.
Now, don't let these arcane words be daunting. They are easy to explain, understand, and observe in action. If you'll stay with me, I think you'll agree that woodshedding is a fine invention.
The word woodshedding is built upon a metomyny, which is then, in turn, transformed by an anthimeria.
Metonymy is the substitution of a word for a related word, typically a cause (pen) for an effect (a page of writing), or a container (the White House) for the contained (currently, the George W. Bush Administration).
Want more examples? O.K. Think of things that have been storehoused, showcased, or shoe-horned into something else. Or of people who have been housed, sanctuaried, pilloried. . . . or woodshedded.
Woodshedding is a container/contained type of metonymy, wherein the container is the woodshed and the contained are all of the prescribed human activities that typically take place therein, i.e., instructing, improving, or repremanding--done in private.
But a woodshed is a thing--represented by a noun--and instructing, improving, and repremanding are actions--represented by verbs. Now what? How do we somehow merge verb and noun?
Enter Anthimeria, the substitution of one part of speech for another, as in
"Such stuff as madmen / Tongue, and brain not."--Shakespeare
"Such stuff as madmen / Speak, and think not."
The noun "Tongue" substitutes for the verb "Speak," and the noun "brain" substitutes for the verb "think."
Every time you encounter either of these verbs, I hope you will promptly and easily imagine the woodshed and the group of active learners busy within.