Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Jan 5 09:47:00 UTC 2005

* name-dropper (OED3 1947)

1939 _Los Angeles Times_ 17 Jan. II5/5 "My pet aversion," she said, "is
the name dropper, the type that is always saying: 'Well, J.P. told me
yesterday and when I had lunch with the P. of W., he said--' I say to
them: 'The P. of What?' 'The P. of W., the Prince of Wales, of course,'
they say."

1940 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ 28 Oct. 15/1 The one about the name-dropper
at Club 18, who kept telling stories about himself with big-shots and
celebrities until Jack White, who couldn't stand it any longer, heckled:
"Say, lissen! Don't you know any common people?"

* name-dropping, n. (OED3 1950)

1945 _Washington Post_ 4 Oct. 14/5 When it's all over, quite a number of
former servicemen will be able to go home and say, "When I was at the
White House..." "As the President said to me..." "That time I was dancing
with Margaret Truman..." and these fellows won't be just name dropping

1948 _Valley Morning Star_ (Harlingen, Texas) 30 Oct. 4/4 At any rate the
release of this letter which Horch put out was a job of name-dropping and
worthy of that master name-dropper Felix Frankfurter himself.

1950 _Waukesha Daily Freeman_ (wisconsin) 31 Aug. 17/1 A fast line,
grandiose claims, a firecracker string of name-droppings, introductions to
cronies in Broadway haunts who back up the imposter's false claims --
these add up to beguiling the innocent.

* name-dropping, a. (OED3 1966)

1946 _Los Angeles Times_ 26 Aug. II5/3 Here is a story WITHOUT names for
this name-dropping column.

1950 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ 25 July 9/1 A name-dropping author who
returned from Hollywood was asked if he'd sold a script.

1954 _Los Angeles Times 19 Oct. 26/2 If there was one objection, it was to
the "name-dropping" habit of these super one-shots.

* name-drop, v. trans. (OED3 1975)

1948 _Berkshire Evening Eagle_ (Pittsfield, Mass.) 3 Sep. 3/7 Once, in
desperation after failing to evoke receptivity by repeatedly
name-dropping Franklin Roosevelt, Henry searched helplessly for some
established political names with which to sanctify himself by association.

* name-drop, v. intr. (OED3 1955)

1950 _Nevada State Journal_ 20 Jan. 4/5 During the past couple of weeks,
almost every one of our guests -- and if I haven't name-dropped enough,
the roster included Lily Pons and Sir Cedric Hardwicke -- has taken the
trouble to write or phone and tell us what a memorable evening it was.

1951 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ 27 Apr. 59/7 This appalled Berlin, who took
him to the uppitty joynt, where Irving indignantly name-dropped to the
manager: "Do you realize who this is? He wrote 'Old Black Magic' and
'Stormy Weather!'"

* name-drop, n. (OED3 1964)

1951 _Reno Evening Gazette_ (Nevada) 11 Jan. 6/7 It is certainly natural
that promoters of concert, television and radio would attempt to corral
Miss Truman, if she sang no better than Donald Duck, merely for the
name-drop value.

--Ben Zimmer

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