square from Delaware (1939)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Tue Sep 23 16:58:59 UTC 2008

Btw, in a similar vein, don't forget Jack the bear, who ain't nowhere, an' his brother, No Fu'ther.
G. Cohen


Message from Tom Dalzell, Tue 9/23/2008 8:30 AM:

Sometimes we neglect the obvious - present company included.

Square: an un-hip person.
Cab Calloway: The New Cab Calloway's Cat-Ologue (Revised 1939 edition)

Tom Dalzell

On Sep 3, 2008, at 12:57 PM, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:

> ---
> 1939 _New York Amsterdam News_ [Dan Burley's "Backdoor Stuff"] 27 May
> 20/1 "Lawd! I'm a square from Delaware, a Lane from Spokane, a killer
> from Manila and a Home from Rome," Allen Drew beats out.
> ---
> 1940 _New York Amsterdam News_ 2 Mar. 21/2 So don't be the "square
> from Delaware," just lace up your boots and "dig this jive."
> ---
> Also c. 1940, Fats Waller released a song called "(You're a) Square
> From Delaware" (Bluebird B-10730, B-side of "Send Me Jackson"). And I
> believe the expression shows up in the 1941 movie _Ball of Fire_. Is
> this the origin for "square" = 'unhip person'?
> --Ben Zimmer

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