Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang [1992, 2005] ...

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 5 02:13:28 UTC 2009

And, of course, I should have re-read Burns's To a Head-Louse. instead
of trying to depend on my memory of it from the one and only time that
I ever read it: in high school, ca.1951, though It seems like only
yesterday that I was writing a 200-word essay on it. Now that I've
thought about it, I'm no longer sure that I recall the title
correctly, to say nothing of the content.

Back in the day, I don't recall that there was any concern among black
people WRT head lice. That they are a major problem was news to me.
The objects of concern, headwise, were ringworm and tetter. I've never
met anyone who has said anything about having had either of these
diseases, but we children were constantly being warned not to wear any
other child's headgear for fear of becoming infected with one of them.
Board of Educations doctors came around every year, even to Catholic,
Lutheran (Saint Louis is the Vatican of the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod), and other non-public schools to test the children for these
two diseases. (They did it by examining the scalp under UV light.)


On Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 9:09 PM, Mark Mandel<thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang [1992, 2005] ...
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 8:55 PM, Wilson Gray<hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Another meaning peculiar to the elderly colored, I reckon.
>> -Wilson
> No, I've always known it as 'head louse'. It could have also included
> body lice, but I mostly remember hearing it in the context of hair.
> Well, also "catching cooties" from another kid, but I didn't know much
> about the details, and I suspect most of my crew didn't either.
> m a m
> white and not elderly yet
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> 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.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list