'Rock' meaning 'wear' or 'sport'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 9 15:40:45 UTC 2008

At 8:05 AM -0400 9/9/08, Charles Doyle wrote:
>Neal, I'm more interested in your expression "once is weird, twice
>is queer," which you surrounded with quotation marks. Does that
>expression function proverbially in a folkgroup to which you belong?
>It receives zero Google hits. (Is "queer" necessarily weirder than

FWIW, my first take was that of same-sex sexual experimentation.


>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 23:11:25 -0400
>>From: Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
>>Subject: 'Rock' meaning 'wear' or 'sport'
>>An advertisement on TV tonight set off my "once is weird, twice is
>>queer" sensors, when it used the word 'rock' to mean "wear", which
>>I'd briefly noted a few weeks ago somewhere.
>>I haven't found anything on this topic on the ADS archives or in
>>alt.usage.english. I have checked Davies's Corpus of Contemporary
>>American, with the string "[rock].[vv*] [at1]", and so far have an
>>earliest attestation from 2003:
>>2003  MAG  Essence     texture. For additional lift, try Prive Root
>>Amplifier Herbal Blend #37. Rock a short crop. There is nothing
>>sexier or more enticing than a woman who
>>It's the only hit from 2003; there's also only one from 2004, again
>>talking about a hairstyle: 2004  SPOK  PBS_Tavis     you doing?
>>I'm doing great.  You're rocking a Mohawk again.  Yeah, yeah, it's
>>One hit from 2005, then three each for 2006 and 2007, now with
>>looks or clothes as the rocked item, as well as facial hair (a
>>Anyone have earlier attestations, or ideas how this meaning
>>developed? I find an interesting in-between use of 'rock' in this
>>2007 example from the movie _Juno_:
>>2007 FIC Mov:Juno   liked Gibson better than Fender. MARK What do
>>you play? JUNO I rock a Harmony. MARK (holding back a chuckle) Oh.
>>JUNO What?
>>Here, 'rock' could have both its sense of "violently move
>>something" and its sense of something you wear, assuming she's
>>using a guitar strap. I imagine
>>the "wear" sense extending from here to more ordinary things that
>>you wear, but this is speculation.
>>Neal Whitman
>>Email: nwhitman at ameritech.net
>>Blog: http://literalminded.wordpress.com
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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