a case ???

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Mar 15 15:10:10 UTC 2008

At 3/14/2008 11:23 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>George Thompson wrote:
>>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
>An alternative tentative interpretation: maybe "case" does not = "loss",
>maybe "case" has its usual meaning ("instance"/"example") and the usage
>is elliptical. E.g., "a case" may be short for "a case of easy come,
>easy go" or "a case of caveat emptor" or whatever.

Or just something notable that
chanced?  "I.  †1.  a. A thing that befalls or
happens to any one; an event, occurrence, hap, or
chance.":  "1596 Spenser F.Q. i. ix. 26, I you
recount a ruefull cace."  Like the pawnbroker's.

However, this doesn't seem to fit JG's
>1845 W.T. Thompson _Chronicles of Pineville_
>150: Farewell, Peters - I’m a case.


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

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