a case ???

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Mar 16 01:57:36 UTC 2008

Jonathon Green wrote:
> George Thompson wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
>> Subject:      a case  ???
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 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".
> Point taken, but I would suggest that it is not that far from what I
> offer in CDS II at 'case n.4 (1) [mid-19C) (US) a doomed person. Thus
> the cite:
> 1845 W.T. Thompson _Chronicles of Pineville_ 150: Farewell, Peters - I’m
> a case.
I think both George Thompson's and Jonathon Green's citations are
probably instances of a general expression "be a case" = "be

In DARE ("case n1", item 6) there are two examples.

Here is another, I think.


1855: <<Well, my boys, we've had a jolly time of it, but I suppose it's
a case at last.>>

I see a few other possible examples but in some cases it's hard to tell
what is intended: "case" was used for "infatuation"/"crush" and also for
"odd character"/"odd situation".

The derivation is not clear to me. Could it be from faro?

Possibly such expressions as "my case dollar" = "my last dollar" are

-- Doug Wilson

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

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