homie (1927, 1929)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Feb 3 19:02:01 UTC 2008

1944 "homie" also features prominently in HDAS.  Burley uses it a lot and wrote a regular column for the _Courier_.


Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Benjamin Zimmer
Subject: homie (1927, 1929)

OED3 (draft entry June 2001) dates "homie" to 1944, from Dan Burley's
_Original Handbook of Harlem Jive_. Now that ProQuest Historical
Newspapers includes black papers, we can take it back much further. In
the 1927 cite below it appears to be a variant of "homer" (HDAS: "an
official whose decisions consistently favor the home team", from 1888)
but the subsequent cites use the familiar "homeboy" sense.

1927 _Pittsburgh Courier_ 25 June II5/6 They [sc. baseball umpires]
have been advised that they must not be "homies," that the visitors
must be given an even break all the time and that plays must be called
as they see them. [Doc ID 1113591912]
1929 _Pittsburgh Courier_ 12 Jan. III5/ 3 Pittsburghers love
basketball -- I believe in my "homies," and if intensely interesting
tilts are arranged we believe they'll turn out. [Doc ID 1111541042]
1937 _New York Amsterdam News_ 25 Sep. 10/1 Hello homies! And g'bye
now, students! [Doc ID 1092901632]
1940 _Pittsburgh Courier_ 20 Jan. 18/1 Teddy Wilson's new band has
made a definite hit with the homies. [Doc ID 1112894762]

--Ben Zimmer

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