Slanguage change

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 30 01:04:43 UTC 2009

The 1963 , judging by a random scan of jam, Don't Shine Me On, by
Frankie & The Del Stars has been reprinted and is available at the
usual suspects - iTunes, Amazon, etc. Here of late, "don't shine NP
on" has come to be used to mean something closer to, Don't bullshit
NP, judging by a quick scan of random Googlits. However, a quick
listen to the record shows that, in 1963, it originally meant, Don't
brush me off. Of course, it could be used positively. I can recall a
snatch of conversation:

A. So, what happened next?

B. Nothing! He shined my black ass on!

It wasn't very long, within a year or so, before the positive also
came to mean, Don't let it bother you, an obvious, easy step from
"brush NP off":

A. [Insult!]

B. Say what?!!!

C. Ig that lame shit, man. Shine it on.

A note in the Urban Dictionary claims ca.1970 as the date, but the
reprint and numerous on-line R&B discographies, in addition to my
steel-trap-like memory, show the date to have been 1963. I heard it on
my car radio, just before I invented the term, "pimpmobile," for the
white-on-white-in-white Cadillac convertible stereotypically driven by
successful pimps of the day.

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 -

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