"machine" 'car, automobile'

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 22 00:57:27 UTC 2008

As Chuck Berry put it in 1958:

"Climb into my _machine_ and we will cruise on out"


On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 10:54 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky
<zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      "machine" 'car, automobile'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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).
> arnold
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