"Cat faces" on tomatoes (1934)

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Sun Jan 2 13:40:57 UTC 2005

On Jan 1, 2005, at 19:57, Mark A. Mandel wrote:
> 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
> Barry's.
> 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.

I've also found "cat face", v., but in most cases it's a the adjectival
"cat-faced" or a count noun.

1988 Melissa Balmain Weiner _Orange County Register_ (Jan. 14) “Irvine
farmers examine effects of chill on strawberries” p. 1: Brown
strawberries, almost-black strawberries, lumpy, warty cat-faced
strawberries: They darken the fields of A.G. Kawamura, outnumbering the
ripe, red berries by two to one in some places.…Temperatures dipped to
about 30 degrees Fahrenheit the last week of December, not quite low
enough to kill entire plants, they said. Winds at times were strong
enough to dent, or “cat-face”


Grant Barrett

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