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

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Thu Nov 7 15:34:39 UTC 2002

On Wed, 6 Nov 2002, David Bergdahl wrote:

#Brock Meeks says his usage derives from "gin" rather than "engine" or
#"gen"--so if the RAF usage for "gen up" is correct, then we have two similar
#phrases with different sources; in a response to an e-mail he writes:
#As I learned it (from my father as a kid) and have always used it during my
#writing career, I always took it to be a throwback to the Prohibition Era
#days of the 1920s in which people resorted to making Gin, the alcohol, in
#their bathtubs.  This of course gave rise the term "bathtub gin" but it also
#took on new meaning, to "gin up" something, is, to my knowledge, to create
#something outside the normal scheme of things.

This is only folk etymology. He says, "I always took it to be ..."
That's what he supposed about an expression he heard from his father,
not the result of research or of firsthand knowledge, or even of
n-th-hand knowledge (such as "Dad, why do you call it that?").

-- Mark A. Mandel

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