"Hooking Up"

Marc Velasco marcjvelasco at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 21 17:24:22 UTC 2008

Assuming here you mean the orign of 'hooking up' as in sexual
encounter (since that's mostly what undergrads are interested in).
For non-sexiness, the OED has it going back to 1925 (but even then the
usage already predicts the transactional nature of the meaning to

Places to look:

** Start here: William Safire:

Safire dates the terms mainstreaming to 1995.

Personally, I'd say the cotemporaneous drug-dealer usage (exemplified
here by Master P) helped give the term some street cred, or currency,
or whatever you want to call it, that helped the term 'hook-up'
win-out over whatever other terms were competing for that meaning
(sexual encounter) at the time.
Master P: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=1530461

Tom Wolfe, the Charlotte Simmons novel, and apparently a collection of
essays, neither of which I've read

>From what I've heard, Wolfe doesn't particularly focus on the origin
of the term, but on the entire undergraduate social scene that has
been built around the term (or at least the practice which it

I know it was popular for East Coast schools, but I'm wondering how
much play the term got out west?

That should get you started.  After that, I'd interview alums that
went to school during the 1990's to see when it was introduced, how it

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 12:08 PM, William Hamlin
<whamlin at u.northwestern.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       William Hamlin <whamlin at U.NORTHWESTERN.EDU>
> Subject:      "Hooking Up"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Northwestern University linguistics students are interested in knowing more
> about the origin of the phrase "hooking up". Any information would be
> greatly appreciated, responses can be sent to whamlin at northwestern.edu
> Thank you!
> William Hamlin
> WCAS 2009
> Northwestern University
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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