evidence for "gen up" rather than "gin up"

Jonathon Green slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK
Wed Nov 6 14:07:52 UTC 2002

Further to David Bergdahl's links to Prohibition-era 'gin',  Partridge
(DSUE) also, and quite separately to the 'gen' material, offers 'gin up':
'to consume hard liquor before a party' in order to induce a 'party spirit'.
This he attributes to 'Service officers' and dates it to c.1930. He has no
figurative use, however. Mathews' _Dict. Americanisms_ has a first use,
again of the drinking definition only, in 1894. Mathews also has the phrase
'gin her up': 'to work hard, to infuse with energy' and offers an 1887 cite.
In this case the etymology may be 'gin', an engine, but possibly the SE
'ginger up', which dates back to a popular 18C means of enlivening a horse
with a judiciously placed lump of root ginger.

Jonathon Green

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