"machine" 'car, automobile'

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Jul 17 14:54:32 UTC 2008

from Wilson Gray back on 6 June:

  >"Machine" for "automobile" is still hip in BE slang, as well as
"'chine," also used as a verb meaning, roughly, "drive like a maniac." <

there's a possible subtlety here that i didn't comment on at the time:
the distinction between a word's having the meaning 'car,
automobile' (as in "my machine's parked in the driveway") and the
word's sometimes being used to refer to cars or automobiles (as in
"that's a mean machine you got there").  it isn't always easy to tell
how the word's being used.

on another front, i checked out "machine" in a few sources: not in
DARE or in Smitherman, but  Majors, Juba to Jive (not the most
reliable of sources), does have an entry:
   (1950s-1960s) an automobile, one's car
citing p. 71 of David Claerbaut, Black Jargon in White America (1972).


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