"Cat faces" on tomatoes (1934)

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Sun Jan 2 00:57:49 UTC 2005

Barry gives a bunch of citations, including these, here reordered
chronologically :
 cat-face  (U.S.), a mark in lumber-wood (see quot.);
1879  Lumberman's Gaz. 3 Dec., Logs  that have *cat faces or burnt
places..the cat face or knots.

24 August 1934. Chicago Daily Tribune, pg.  17:
[...] the fruit blotches referred to by the trade  as "cat faces."

Found the name of the disfiguration is called "Cat  face". ...
_rec.gardens_ (http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.gardens)  - Sep 21
1993, 10:44 pm by Gayle Chidester - 3 messages - 3 authors

_http://fogcity.blogs.com/_ (http://fogcity.blogs.com/)
_Forget about taste, Florida says, these tomates are just too ugly  to ship.
[...] the lush,  vine-ripened UglyRipes have what the industry
calls a "cat face," full of uneven  crevices and ridges.

_Gawker : Archive for Media : New York Times_
... And that's what we're calling our movie pitch: "Cat  Face: The Little
Tomato That Could."

In the three 1934-1936 citations, all from the Chicago Daily Tribune
(written by the same reporter?), "cat face" is a count nominal; the 1879
lumber citation from the OED has a count use and what may be a non-count
use, "the cat face or knots", or not: the ellipsis there is the OED's, not

The rec.gardens quote is non-count. The other modern ones are all quoting or
derived from the New York Times article, so they aren't independent sources.
(The Gawker cite is furthermore a joke and shouldn't be counted for
anything.) They seem to refer to the appearance of the fruit as a whole.

-- Mark A. Mandel
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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