OED appeals-give him one

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Fri Jun 21 17:43:31 UTC 2002

At 11:45 AM 6/21/02 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 06/20/2002 5:27:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>jester at PANIX.COM writes:
> > On Wed, Jun 19, 2002 at 03:53:12PM -0400, Baker, John wrote:
> >
> > > I noticed that the nominally updated appeal for "to give someone
> > >one" (=sex) doesn't recognize my antedating to Gilbert & Sullivan's
> > >Iolanthe ("I heard the minx remark, She'd meet him after dark Inside
> > >St. James's Park And give him one").
> >
> > This antedating has been entered in OED, and the relevant entry will
> > probably be published in next quarter's batch.
> >
> > But the Iolanthe example can't mean 'have sex', can it?  If Gilbert had
> > thought it had even a hint of that meaning he never would have put it in
> > the play.  I always thought it meant that Iolanthe would 'give him a kiss'.
> >   Gilbert prided himself on putting on shows that made the theatre
> > respectable as opposed to the French who had all kinds of naughty
> > implications in their plays.  He was a pillar of respectability.  Maybe
> > it's like the phrase 'to make love' which appears in old songs and meant
> > something like 'say romantic things' or maybe 'kiss' but since the 60s at
> > least has generally been understood to mean copulation.
> >
> > Dale Coye

As it happens, I rented the '50s movie "Picnic" a few days ago and was
struck by a conversation between the lead female (Kim Novak) and her
mother.  The mother asks (about the drifter, played by Bill Holden), "Does
he make love?" (not "to you," as I recall)  "Well, we kiss a little" (I
paraphrase).  "I mean, does he want to do anything more?" etc. etc.  The
whole movie seemed terribly dated--and I used to think it was the epitome
of romance. . . .

BTW, "drifter" reminds me of "Grifter."  I never saw that movie; what the
heck is a grifter?

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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