a case ???

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Mar 15 01:42:48 UTC 2008

I don't see a meaning for the word "case" in HDAS or Cassell's that fits this without some heavy wrenching and squeezing.  Here it is used to mean "a loss".

This is from a novel published in 1836.  (The author was a prominent newspaper editor -- you've met him before.)  The scene is a pawnshop.  A young man enters: he's a regular, coming in to pawn the same gold watch and chain, redeeming it when he's flush.  This time he's in a hurry, says to the pawnbroker, give me the usual for this.  The pawnbroker hands him money, he rushes out.  The pawnbroker looks at the watch, sees that instead of a gold chain, this time the chain is gilded brass, rushes out after him.  He returns, saying:

"Ah it's no use,: he said, "he's got off clear by this time, and my thirty dollars is a case."

William Leete Stone, Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman, 1836, p. 191


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list