"jockey", 1632 [published 1637], antedates 1670-; also "masty"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 27 22:13:18 UTC 2010

There are some still earlier citations for "jockey" in EEBO.

I'm curious about this "interdating" thing: I am familiar with the concept, but it seems like it can easily be carried too far, particularly nowadays when online resources can readily yield lots of citations from targeted time periods.  Mathematically speaking, aren't 90% or more of all citations going to "interdate" the OED, i.e., all citations are interdatings unless they happen to have exactly the same date as an OED cite?  What is the goal -- to have a citation for every decade? every year?  Surely the OED does not aim to have citations as frequent or as voluminous as that, nor should anyone expect it to.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Joel S. Berson [Berson at ATT.NET]
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:10 PM
Subject: "jockey", 1632 [published 1637], antedates 1670-; also "masty"

Shirley, James.
Hide Parke: A Comedie, As it vvas presented by her Majesties
Servants, at the private house in Drury Lane.
Licensed 1632; published 1637.
[For holdings: EEBO, Harvard, and see Worldcat.]

The Dramatic Works and Poems of James Shirley, Now First Collected ... .
[With notes by William Gifford and Alexander Dyce.]
London: John Murray, 1833.

Act IV, Scene iii [the initial lines].  [page 510.]

Vent. He must be a Pegasus that beats me.
Rid. Yet your confidence may deceive you; you will ride.
Against a jockey, that has horsemanship.
Vent. A jockey! A jackanapes on horseback rather;
A monkey or a masty dog would shew
A giant to him; an I were Alexander,
I would lay the world upon my mare; she shall
Run with the devil for a hundred pieces,
Make the match who will.

[Other passages with "jockey" appear later in Scene iii (511 and
520).  While "Jockey" is a character's name, these three instances
with lower case clearly are the common noun.]

["Rid." is not a rider, but rather an "amorous servant[] to mistress
Carol".  "Vent." is "Venture", who bets on his horse.]

Antedates OED2 "jockey" sense 5.a., "spec. A professional rider in
horse-races.", 1670--.  [Thee text, above and elsewhere, clearly
indicates that there was a race for money.  I did not search the text
to discover whether or not he was a professional (paid for his efforts).]

In passing:  "masty" (adj) sense 1.b. "burly, big-bodied", interdates
draft rev. Mar. 2009  a1593 -- 1660.


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