"Oil as spiritous drink?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat May 17 12:47:04 UTC 2008

Yes I mean "alcoholic beverage" (is that different from "spiritous
drink?  :-) ) -- but in the bare, without any modifier.

The quote is:

           oh boss
you ask too much of us we have no flair for toil
we d rather daily dally thus-imbibing joyful oil
you can t expect a man to souse
and do work for your business house

The date is November 14, 1917.

[The hyphen probably is intended to be an em-dash; this was written
on a manual typewriter, without that character, and two extra
head-butts would not have been appreciated by Archy.]

I see that OED3 has a draft revision March 2008, for "oil n.1", with
"C2. In extended use {dag}d. Strong drink, as oil of barley, oil of
malt. Cf. sense 5. Obs.", latest citation 1881, and all quotations
are of the form "oil of <something>".  I observe:

There are no citations of just plain "oil"  (C is "Combinations and
phrasal collocations", of course).

Which was not obsolete at least as of 1917; and I'll bet it can be
found much later.

The reference to sense 5 is mysterious; that's "5. In pl. The sector
of the commodities or stock market represented by oil or oils (now,
esp. petroleum); shares in an oil or petroleum company." (?)


At 5/17/2008 12:26 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>Content-Disposition: inline
>You mean "oil" as in "ignorant-oil" = alcoholic beverage? HDAS has 1917.
>On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 10:50 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> > Subject:      "Oil as spiritous drink?
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > When does "oil" as spiritous drink (by itself, not as "oil of
> > barley", etc.) appear?  I couldn't locate this sense in OED2.
> >
> > Joel
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>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.
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