"clinker" (n.3), 1940

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 30 03:03:08 UTC 2009

Just from the quote, I'd interpret it as very roughly "something impressive"
or "a real piece of work": strongly evaluative, but could be either positive
or negative. I feel I could substitute into its uses here as "Ain't she
somethin'?" and "She's somethin' else, all right." This is just a WAG, of

m a m

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 8:17 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> In "The Corn is Green", after Miss Moffat first meets and faces down
> the Squire, there is the following dialogue:
> Mrs. Watty [the housekeeper]:  I'm jiggered! What d'you think of 'er,
> eh? Ain't she a clinker?
> Miss Ronberry [about-to-be assistant schoolmistress]:  She is
> unusual, is she not?
> Mrs. Watty:  She's a clinker, that's what. Terrible strong-willed, o'
> course, terrible. Get 'er into mischief, I keep tellin' 'er. Would
> bring me 'ere. ...
> Having seen both the play and the Bette Davis film recently, and
> re-reading the text, I'm not sure if "clinker" is:
> 1)  n.3 sense 2. fig. b. "A 'clinking' good thing: applied to
> persons, animals, and things of first-rate quality. slang (orig.
> Sporting; cf. CLINKING ppl. a. 2)", dating from 1836; where it would
> postdate 1936; or
> 2)  n.3 sense 5.  "slang. (see quot.) (?) Obs.", where it would
> postdate "c1690 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Clinker, a crafty Fellow.
> 1725 so in New Cant. Dict. 1736 in BAILEY (folio)."; or
> 3)  something different.

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