"gimme some skin", "righteous" (Burley, 1940)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 4 07:41:43 UTC 2008

my mother once told me that, when she was in college ca.1930 at the
same Wiley College featured in The Great Debaters (she used to babysit
James Farmer), it was whatever word that they used for "hip" in those
days to say, "Gimme some skin, frien'!" "Righteous" is probably as old
as water. But, of course, it takes time for these things to get into
print and some never do and some remain local, such as the East-Texas
use of "Geechee" to describe a Creole-French-speaking black
Louisianians or merely one with a French surname.


On 2/4/08, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      "gimme some skin", "righteous" (Burley, 1940)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Here are two AAVE-isms that OED dates back to 1942 from Zora Neale
> Hurston. In both cases, Dan Burley beats Hurston by two years.
> * give (slip, etc.) me some skin (OED 1942)
> 1940 _New York Amsterdam News_ 6 July 20/1 "Well, Jack, lay it on me!
> Gimme some skin." (Shakes hands with pal.)
> 1940 _New York Amsterdam News_ 14 Dec. 21/5 Dig me some skin like
> Rin-Tin-Tin, now ole man, can you grin?
> * righteous = 'excellent' (OED 1942)
> 1940 _New York Amsterdam News_ 5 Oct. 20/1 The Glamour Gals were
> wining like camels at an oasis while this solid old ofay was digging
> out twenties and whatnot paying for all that righteous "gage."
> 1941 _New York Amsterdam News_ 8 Mar. 20/7 Made up of youngsters, the
> orchestra has improved steadily since Bostic decided to take over a
> baton and the arrangements played as truly righteous.
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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