More on dishing in line

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jun 13 15:27:54 UTC 2001

Is this more emantically transparent that arnold thinks? To ditch =
"to get rid of, to throw away," perhpas more importantly, "to get rid
of or leave behind something undesirable, particulrly, perhaps a
person." (We were driving cross-country with Elmer, but ditcfhed him
in Kalamazoo.)

Sides, I like to do etymologies this way. Who don't?


>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

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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