"tall, dark, and hansome" whence?

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 24 15:16:51 UTC 2004

On Thu, 12 Feb 2004, Sam Clements wrote:

> >From the Straightdope, as usual.
> I can find a hit on newspaperarchive for 1941, "dark and hansome."
> But when does the full treatment (tall, dark and hansome) start?  And what
> is meant by "dark?"

You've been tripped up by misspelling (is one allowed to use the word
"misspelling" on a linguists' list?) the word "handsome."  "Tall, dark and
handsome" goes back to 1882 on newspaperarchive.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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