Questions on 1902 college slang article: "birdies", "barkers"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sun Jul 30 01:14:07 UTC 2006

On Sat, Jul 29, 2006 at 08:48:49PM -0400, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
> >P.S. for "heelers" I assume we deal with HDAS "heeler" #1: "Orig.
> >Underworld,
> >a usually unskilled accompllice of a swindler, thief or other criminal; a
> >hired
> >thug; a servile supporter or backer; hanger-on."
> It's akin to "servile supporter, hanger-on", but I think there's a
> special collegiate sense here. Webster's Third New International has a
> sense for "heel" (the verb): "to work for a school newspaper or
> magazine esp. as a reporter." I believe it extends to other college
> organizations.

See HDAS _heel_ v. sense 3.a., '...(Stu.) to pledge a
fraternity or other student society', with various Yale quotes,
the first one referrring to Skull and Bones and other Yale

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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