Heard on The Judges: "perpetrate" = "pretend"; "sporting" = something like "trying to give the impression that one is X"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 23 18:30:59 UTC 2008

Mid-twenty-ish, black, male speaker:

"This my cousin, your honor, but he a fake. He put on fancy clothes
and go to the bars, hitting on women and _perpretating_ like he a
player, _sporting_ [spouTIn] to be in the game or something.

In Saint Louis, "Who you sporting ([spoutn] in StL; [spou_TI_n] is the
Southern pronunciation) to be?" was a challenge that meant something
like, "Who the fuck do you think you are?" Or someone might say, "He
sporting to be bad, but he ain't as bad as he smell."

It could also be used to mean something like "show off one's prowess
as a 'laydis man' by appearing at a party with a major chick":

"Man, it bugged my head (I was filled with envy) when I slid into the
party and dug Billy sporting Jackie Bonaparte [on his arm]. She puts
forth a mean thigh!"

(BIilly, being the only person so named in our male clique, didn't
need to have his surnamed mentioned. But "Jacqueline" was a very
common name for girls, back in the day, and Jackies Bonaparte,
Broussard, Conte-Jean [kant at -dzhan], and Hamilton were all foxy things
(FWIW, "foxy thing" is the original form, AFAIK, based on a song
title, _You Foxy Thing_), ca.1951-52?. So, specification of the
surname was required.

(Though physically unprepossessing, except for being very tall, Billy
was a stone player, having an unmatchable talent for dancing, having
such an unparalleled comic sensibility that he was nicknamed "Jerry
Lewis," and with nerves of steel when it came to dealing with girls:
"Oh, Billy!'; "Stop, Billy!"; "You're not supposed to do that, Billy!"
The rest of us ate our hearts out.

(Unfortunately, he grew up to be an alcoholic, wife-beating crackhead
who died in the gutter in his fifties.)

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

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

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