"Match me, Sidney"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 9 02:38:52 UTC 2005

At 10:23 PM -0400 7/8/05, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Fri, 8 Jul 2005 20:48:39 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer
><bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:
>>"Match me, Sidney" is a classic line from _The Sweet Smell of Success_
>>(1957), delivered by J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) to Sidney Falco
>>(Tony Curtis). It was one of the American Film Institute's 400 nominees
>>for the greatest movie quotes of all time, but sadly it did not make the
>>top 100.
>>I don't see "match" = 'light a cigarette for (someone)' in OED, HDAS, or
>>anywhere else. Was this a turn of phrase that the screenwriters (Clifford
>>Odets and Ernest Lehman) came up with specifically for the movie?
>Never mind-- I should have checked AmSp first...
>"Smokers' Slang" by Robert H. Weber
>_American Speech_, Oct. 1940, p. 336/1
>You may light your cigarette with _a light_, _some fire_, _a touch_, _a
>flick_, or _a bonfire_; or you may ask somebody to 'Match me.'
Now I'm wondering if there's a (probably somewhat obscure) movie in
which a character reaches over with a cigarette to light it by
touching it to the lit end of his or her companion's ciggie and
murmurs "Dutch fuck me".


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