"machine" 'car, automobile'

William Salmon william.salmon at YALE.EDU
Thu Jul 17 15:22:57 UTC 2008

>  >"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.

Then there's Johnny Cash's "mow-chine" from the 1976 song "One Piece at
a Time"

Huh, This is the COTTON MOUTH
And negatory on the cost of this mow-chine there RED RYDER
You might say I went right up to the factory
And picked it up, it's cheaper that way

FYI: here is what a mow-chine looks like:

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

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