Most Popular Dictionaries in Libraries

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 27 18:19:37 UTC 2005

At 11:50 AM -0500 12/27/05, Page Stephens wrote:
>Stout always allows Archie who is from Ohio which is near to where Stout
>grew up in the midwest to use slang but Wolfe is always grammatically
>correct in spite of the fact that he is a non native English speaker. On
>the other hand Archie's use of slang, ie finif (from the Yiddish) for a
>five doillar bill always sounds to my midwestern ear more New York than
>anything I ever heard growing up.

Here's a bit of recently trendy slang from Archie illustrating a
construction much discussed here (and elsewhere) in the early 1990's,
although--as Jon and Jesse--have shown there are more than a few
citations of retro-NOT from the 1890's.

I stood with my arms folded, glaring down at Nero Wolfe, who had his
278 pounds planted in a massive armchair...'A FINE WAY TO SERVE YOUR
COUNTRY', I told him.  'NOT.  In spite of a late start I get you here
in time to be shown to your room and unpack and wash up for dinner,
and now you tell me to go tell your host you want dinner in your
room.  Nothing doing.  I decline.'

Rex Stout, "Immune to murder".  Reprinted in Three for the chair,
54-99.  New York:  Bantam Books, 1957.  (Emphasis added.)

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