Shout outs and hard ons

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 20 18:22:59 UTC 2009

When I lived in Saint Louis in the '40's and '50's, in the local BE,
we used _on hard_ or _on the bone_. I'm not sure when or where I first
heard _hard on_, certainly no earlier than the '50's, when I attended
what was known in the local BE as a "white (high) school," there being
only seven black students among some 800 students.

When I heard _hard on_, I assumed "have a [[hard] [on]]," like, e.g.
"have a [[jacket] [on]]."

However, with the passage of the years, I began to see _hard-on_ in
print about as often as _hard on_.

Drifting back to the only point, I've never heard or seen either
"hards on" or "hard-ons." I can't even imagine a use for these forms.

"By the time that Evelyn 'Treasure Chest' West had stripped down to
just her pasties and G-string, there must have been well over 200
hards on / hard-ons among the audience!"

Laughable!!! Everyone would have stroked off too many, by then, to be
still on the bone.

BTW, a thong, regardless of how tiny, is not the same as a G-string,
regardless of the number of writers attempting to make it so. Back in
those pre-porn, pre-Playboy days, there were *many* publications
devoted to the art of the strip-tease, with many pages, if not each
page, devoted to pictures of women wearing only G-strings and pasties.

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

On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 11:16 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Shout outs and hard ons
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Deja vu: I've learned that some speakers have "hards on" as the plural of
> "hard on", and for me it raised the same questions about reanalysis as it
> did for the term "shout out". Specifically, I suspect:
> have [a hard] [on] --> have a [hard on]
> ...but for some speakers the reanalysis never occurred, or some speakers do
> have "hard on" as a noun, but hypercorrectly pluralize it as "hards on".
> I've written a post on the topic at:
> The "shout out" thread from July 2007 began at:
> Neal Whitman
> Email: nwhitman at
> Blog:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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