Query: Meaning of 1933 abbreviation (slang) T.L.(from Gerald Cohen)

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sun Apr 2 04:03:23 UTC 2006

On Sat, Apr 01, 2006 at 10:45:23PM -0500, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote,
on behalf of Gerald Cohen:

> Query:  Would anyone have any idea what "t.l." (in  capitals it would be
> T.L.) means in the following following context (from  Nathanel West, Miss
> Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust' copyrighted 1933;  later edition: p. 148):
> '...Faye was coming back.  Homer  saw that Tod was going to speak to her
> about Earle and the Mexican and signaled  desperately for him not to do it.  She,
> however, caught at it and was  curious.
> "What have you guys been chinning about?"
> "You, darling," Tod said, "Homer has a t.l.for you.
> "Tell me, Homer."
> "No, first you tell me one."
> "Well, the man I just danced with asked me if you were a movie big  shot."
> Tod saw that Homer was unable to think of a return  compliment so he spoke
> for him.
> "I said you were the most  beautiful girl in the place." ....'
> ----- The reference  seems to be to a compliment.  But how would that derive
> from T.L.?   Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

It's from "trade last", originally in reference to a compliment
given to a person in return for a compliment from that person,
but used broadly of any compliment, or more narrowly of a compliment
given through an intermediary.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list