I”ve seen various entries for “No ifs, no buts, no cuts”, but no explanation of the other phrase.
What is the etymology?
An online search suggests that the expression you ask about may have been patterned on an earlier children”s schoolyard (or lunchroom) expression with a very different meaning:
No cuts, no butts, no coconuts.
You are watching: No cuts no buts no coconuts
(often rendered as “No butts, no cuts, no coconuts”), where cuts refers to “cutting in line” and butts to “butting in
Native U.S. jovemaprendiz2019.org speakers may be familiar with the warning cry “No cuts!” in elementary school and middle school lunchroom lines. In this parlance, cuts referring to the practice of a kid coming late to the line and joining a friend who has already been standing in line for some time, ahead of others who have also been standing in line and don”t appreciate being delayed further by line-jumping latecomers. The jingle-like longer phrase turns the warning into a stylized chant.
Google Books searches yield a meager supply of these various phrases in action. First occurrences of the various forms appear in this order: an instance of “No Cuts, No Butts, No Coconuts” as a song title from 1999; an instance of “No Buts, No Cuts, No Coconuts!” as a children”s book title from 2008; an instance of “No cuts, no buts, no coconuts” in Wreck-It Ralph (2012); and an example of “No ifs, no buts, no coconuts” from Evil is Taking Over the Establishment – Origins (2014).
The butts versus buts issue isn”t something you asked about, but it seems to me that in the case of the no-cutting-in-line chant, the butts spelling makes more sense—whereas in the no-ifs-or-buts saying, buts is clearly the intended word.
In an extended discussion of “No cuts, no buts, no coconuts,” Barry Popik”s Big Apple site locates a first instance from the TV show Hey Arnold! from 1997. (Note that the example is spoken not written, so the spelling but is attributive. In fact, Popik”s discussion doesn”t address the buts/butts issue at all, nor does it acknowledge the existence of the “no ifs, no buts, no coconuts” variant.
UPDATE (June 3, 2017): I should mention two other confirmed early occurrences of related phrases. One is an instance of “no ifs, no buts, no cuts” from 1999 (probably) in Legal Action: The Bulletin of the Legal Action Group, where the meaning might be read as “no arguing or equivocating—cutting is not allowed”; the other is a much later instance, from Acid (2008), which gives the expression as “no buts no cuts, no alligator guts”—a retort by one juvenile character to another, who has just uttered the one-word objection, “But.”