"sugar daddy"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jun 21 20:23:51 UTC 2006

On 6/21/06, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> Further affirming Gerald Cohen's reiterated argument
> that "sugar daddy" can mean, simply, "(male) sweetheart"--as
> well as the OED's "elderly man who lavishes gifts on a young
> woman":
> Early blues songs also sing about the synonymous "sugar
> papa" (specifically, "apple sugar papa"; Gertrude ["Ma"]
> Rainey, "Bessemer Bound Blues," 1926), "sugar man" (Bessie
> Mae Smith, "Sugar Man Blues" [parts 1 and 2], 1930); and the
> parallel "Sugar Mama" (Peetie Wheatstraw, "Sugar Mama,"
> 1938; Tommy McClennan, "New Sugar Mama," 1940).
> I found those examples in a old-fashioned way:  Using the
> efficient hard-copy Blues Lyric Poetry: A Concordance, by
> Michael Taft, 3 vols. (NY: Garland, 1984), keyed to Taft's
> compilation Blues Lyric Poetry: An Anthology (NY, Garland,
> 1983).

The new-fashioned way works pretty well too!  :->


--Ben Zimmer

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list