going down on someone in 1859

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 12 23:40:59 UTC 2005

Partridge's _Dictionary of the Underworld_ gives English (transitive) exx. from the early part of the 20th C.  The meaning is to rob (from the person of), esp. by pocket-picking.

Thanks, George. This is the only U.S. cite I know of. And it's the earliest of any.


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: going down on someone in 1859

>Mary Barrett [a whore] . . . is not content with driving her
>illegitimate trade, but must needs "go down" occasionally on
>her "lovers." Last week while a drunken fool was engaged in surveying
>three dollars worth of beauty, she "wend down" and got his pocket-book
>containing about forty dollars.
>California Police Gazette, January 23, 1859, p. 2, col. 4

Is there any way to be sure just what is entailed by this kind of
down-going? From the context, it sounds like it must involve ripping
off the client rather than performing any pleasurable act for the
benefit of the go-downee.


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