Jonathon Green slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK
Tue Nov 5 10:07:55 UTC 2002

>Still not as old as the 1890 "raspberry" in the OED though.

The OED is in fact around a decade late in its 'raspberry' cite; had they chosen to 'borrow' from Farmer and Henley's 'Slang & Its Analogues', rather than Barrere and Leland's 'Slang, Jargon & Cant' (where cites are irritatingly undated) they could have noted the original line dates to 'c.1880'. UK use is definitely rooted in rhyming slang; whether it then crossed the Atlantic or whether razz(berry) developed independently/coincidentally I cannot say.  Nor do I know whether the note in the original cite (published in the horse-racing magazine The Sporting Times - better known as 'The Pink 'Un' and not wholly dissimilar to the National Police Gazette), which explains that when not used derisively the sound was 'employed for the purpose of testing horseflesh', has any special relevance.

Jonathon Green

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