"Big Apple" prostitution etymology again

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Wed Jun 20 15:32:30 UTC 2001

    Today (June 20; message titled "Quotatious" for another item)
Barry Popik shared with ADS-L a message from a book editor who is
considering the "Big Apple" prostitution etymology as possibly being
valid. Barry informed me about the matter yesterday, whereupon I sent
the editor (Eric Todrys) the following e-mail:
To: todrys at fas.harvard.edu
From: Gerald Cohen <gcohen at umr.edu>
Subject: Re: "Big Apple" prostitution etymology
Cc: Bapopik at aol.com, AAllan at aol.com, jester at panix.com, gershny at yahoo.com

Dear Eric Todrys,

   Barry Popik forwarded your e-mail to me concerning the "Big Apple"
prostitution etymology.  He said he'd respond to you when he returns
from his his trip later this week and suggested that I drop you a
line in the meantime.
   The gist of my reply is that Salwen's etymological treatment
collapses upon examination and is almost certainly a spoof. I have
recently shared my thoughts on this matter in four long e-mail
messages to the American Dialect Society
(ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU) and am compiling the discussion into a
unified treatment to appear in the May issue (appearing a bit late)
of my _Comments on Etymology_.
     If you are interested in testing out who is right in this matter,
here's a suggestion. Send a copy of my treatment of the "Big Apple"
prostitution etymology to Salwen and ask him for his response to the
specific points raised there. Barry Popik has already requested
Salwen to provide evidence for his assertions on "The Big Apple" but
has received no reply.  Maybe you'll have better luck.


Gerald Cohen
Professor of Foreign Languages
University of Missouri-Rolla
Research specialty: Etymology, particularly British and American slang.
Author of _Origin of New York City's Nickname "The Big Apple"_ and
several follow-up articles; the articles contain Barry Popik's very
valuable contributions.

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