More on dishing in line

Steven H Keiser shkeiser at LING.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Wed Jun 13 14:32:35 UTC 2001

I'm getting the ADS-L digest so I'm not sure how to reply to you all.

First, to Joan Hall, I am probably the person who emailed you about
"ditch" in central Ohio a couple weeks ago, so this thread is probably
not independent confirmation.

However, I have been doing my homework here.  So far I have talked to
35 people who are Columbus natives or from nearby towns.  "DISH" is
used only by persons 40 or older.  "DITCH" is most common among high
schoolers and up to age 40.  So, Arnold, your observation about usage
in the 70s and 80s is right, but it looks like "DISH" is the older
term.  Finally, the youngest generation, 6-12 year olds now uses
simply "D".

I'm still trying to figure out the geographic distribution of this
term, but it doesn't seem to reach much beyond the boundaries of
Franklin County (i.e., a radius of 20 miles or so).

Finally, I had checked the OED definition number 7
("cheat..circumvent") and it struck me as unlikely.  But if I can find
evidence that people went from "Sally DISHED Lydia" to "Sally DISHED
in line (in front of Lydia)", then that might be the source.  One
speaker offered the folk etymology that dishes nestle together when
stacked, much as people in a line.

Thanks for the comments.


Steve Hartman Keiser

The Ohio State University
Department of Linguistics
222 Oxley Hall
1712 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210

office 614-292-4052
fax    614-292-8833
email  shkeiser at

> Date:    Tue, 12 Jun 2001 11:11:20 -0500
> From:    Joan Houston Hall <jdhall at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Dishing in line
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> We didn't enter it in Volume II, so I guess we didn't have any evidence for
> it.  Recently, though, someone wrote about the use of "ditch" in the same
> sense.  Those slips are in the process of being filed, so I can't tell you
> right now where the person was from.  Sorry. I'll add your info to the file
> for an eventual update.
> Joan Hall

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