"gay" in "Bringing Up Baby"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Aug 26 17:09:08 UTC 2010

Having just seen "Bringing Up Baby" again, I am surprised that the
OED can continue to, in its June 2010 draft revision, bracket the
following quotation as, presumably, "interpreted anachronistically".

1938 D. NICHOLS & H. WILDE Bringing up Baby (film script, final
revision) 35 David..comes on..in negligee... Aunt: Why are you
wearing these clothes?.. David: Because I just went gay, all of a sudden.

If it is not taken as specifically referring to a person as a
homosexual (sense 4.d.(a)), it seems at least to be "(of a ... way of
life, etc.) of or relating to homosexuals" (sense 4.d(b).  (Unless
this use is taken only as cross-dressing?)  And a few of the later,
but still bracketed, quotations, seem also to fit 4.d(b).


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

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