Bogarting, the real story?

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Jul 14 14:10:56 UTC 2009

The original underlying metaphor is uncertain. There are generally three
competing explanations. You can take your pick between 1 or 2; there is no
strong reason to prefer one over another. 3 seems less likely.

1) It comes from the earlier slang verb "to bogart" meaning to bully or
intimidate, like the characters Bogey played. One hogs the joint through
intimidation, with the term gradually losing its violent connotation.

2) Hanging on to the cigarette without inhaling, like Bogey with a cigarette
hanging loosely from his lips.

3) From the saliva that can accrue on the joint by doing 2. This is less
likely as the origin, since the first known use, the 1968 Fraternity of Man
song, is clearly about not sharing, not about saliva.

There is no evidence that I have seen that the term dates to the 1950s, or
that it was originally used for tobacco cigarettes. The term is
well-researched and no one has antedated the 1968 Fraternity of Man song.

I too, first heard "bogart" in the sense of getting saliva on the joint (New
Jersey, early 1980s), but this seems to be a minority usage. The sense of
not passing the joint around is the overwhelming favorite in usage.

I've been hearing "bogart," meaning to hog, to not share, in non-marijuana
contexts since the mid-1990s. as Ron says, it's often with food or
turn-taking. It's reasonably common to hear it in such contexts now.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 5:44 AM
Subject: Bogarting, the real story?

This has been discussed here many times.

What does it mean to say that HB "would hold on tight to a cigarette"?
Nobody holds a cigarette loosely.

Bogart had prominent lips, and in the movies he often held a cigarette
between his lips, hands-free. When one does this, the cigarette sometimes
gets wet with saliva.

In the 1950s people sometimes shared a (tobacco) cigarette. The admonition,
"Don't Bogart it!" merely meant "Don't get it wet!" It had nothing to do
with unfair sharing or "hogging." Among more socially conscious smokers it
stood in for a vile racist term.)

Perhaps within pot culture  the term took on the secondary meaning that
Silliman puts forth (through hearer misunderstanding). My memory is that it
continued to mean "Don't get spit on the doobie".

I have never heard the verb "Bogart" used with respect to "hogging" in any
nonsmoking context. Maybe it does so occur--one would expect to hear it in
the context of pie or cake or turn-taking in general if S's explanation is
more than an occassional novice  pot-smoker's naïve mistake.
------Original Message------
From: Ron Silliman
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: [ADS-L] Bogarting
Sent: Jul 14, 2009 7:10 AM

Bogarting is indeed a reference to Humphrey Bogart. It refers to the
practice of holding on tight to a marijuana cigarette (the way Bogart, more
in films like Maltese Falcon than Casablanca, would hold onto his
cigarettes). Hence, a failure to share what should be passed around...

Ron Silliman

The American Dialect Society -

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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