crooner (1924)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Mon Apr 25 03:43:00 UTC 2005

On Sun, 24 Apr 2005 14:39:22 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>OED has 1930 for "crooner" = 'a singer who croons'.
>1924 _Monessen Daily Independent_ (Pa.) 1 Dec. 6 (advt.) One of the best
>shows on the road, featuring "The Five Strutters" who strut their stuff.
>"Dew & Stone", Instrumentalists and crooners of southern melodies.
>[ad for Fred Hurley's "Big Town Revue"]

There are actually earlier cites for "crooner" (MW dates it to 1892), but
they might not be related to the modern sense of "crooning" ('singing
popular sentimental songs in a low, smooth voice').  Here's an earlier
example from a bit of nonsense verse by W.S. Gilbert:

_Current Literature_, Sep. 1888, Vol. I,, Iss. 3, p. 267/2
The Inspired Idiot -- W. S. Gilbert.
Sing for the garish eye,
When the moonless brandlings cling!
Let the froddening crooner cry,
And the braddled sapster sing.

--Ben Zimmer

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