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

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Sun Apr 2 04:06:53 UTC 2006

>Would you please send the message below my signoff to  ads-l.  I'm away from
>Rolla, and if I send the mesage to
>ads-l from any  computer other than my own, it will arrive encrypted. -----
>Best.  --- Jerry
>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.
>'...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.
>Gerald  Cohen
A "T.L" is a "tell last." It refers to a protocol regarding second-hand
compliments.  If A overhears -- or is simply told -- something
complimentary about B, A tells B of the existence of this "t.l." meaning
that B must come up with a compliment of some sort for A before the "t.l."
will be told to B. THis explanation is rather cumbersome, but I'm too
sleepy to rewrite it.

W stands for >:<  War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts  >:<

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

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