"fork *up*" (July 1837), and other slang

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Mar 1 03:58:26 UTC 2010

At 2/28/2010 10:21 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>"tip us the rhino" -- Not in OED as
>>phrase.  rhino 1.  "Money. (Often ready rhino.)".  1688 and thereafter.
>Rhino for money first comes in recorded in Thomas Shadwell's _Squire of
>Alsatia_ (presumably the 1688 reference).

Yes.  "The Ready, the Rhino; thou shalt be rhinocerical, my Lad."

>"Tip" would I'd guess be a bit
>later, meaning "give".  But there would be an overlap in time when the two
>terms would be used.
>Actually, I'm wrong on "tip", come to think of it -- it comes into "Of the
>Budge" (often miscalled "The Budg and Snudge Song") about 1673 --
>... But
>somehow "tip us the rhino" doesn't quite ring true.  "Tip us the ready" I
>could live with, but while "tip" is definitely actual late 17thC+ cant,
>widely attested, "rhino" always sounds a little literary to me.

Does "rhinocerical" not sound literary to you?  :-)

>>"post the poney" -- OED 1819 [not 17898], s.v.
>>post, v.4:  J. H. VAUX New Vocab. Flash Lang. in
>>Mem., Post or post the poney, to stake, or lay
>>down the money.  [No other quotations.]
>I wouldn't put this past being something made up by the execrable Vaux.
>Sounds like a variant of "pony up", meaning to hand over money or pay a debt
>or reckoning.

I forgot to look for "post the pony" without the "e".  The OED has --
s.v. nap, v.3 -- "1828 'W. T. MONCRIEFF' Tom & Jerry I. 20 Blunt, my
dear boy, is..to be able to flash the screens---sport the
rhino---shew the needful---post the pony{em}nap the rent."

So here, "sport" replaces "tip", and we have two additional phrases:

"shew the needful" --  "needful adj.1 and n.":  "3. With the. ... b.
colloq. The necessary funds; money, cash."  From a1777.

"nap the rent" --  "rent", n.1, sense 2.d.a:  "(a) Money, cash, esp.
that acquired by criminal activity or in exchange for homosexual
favours."  From 1823.  "nap" probably v.3, sense 1, "To seize, catch;
to arrest; to steal."  From 1665.

>But the whole set of examples, if they date from 1920,

They date, as I wrote, from 1837.  The issue number is 1921.

>reads like a melange
>of slang and cant garnered from various periods and almost certainly books.
>Deeply phoney.

Robin, why do you say "phoney"?  Because someone read the words in
cant dictionaries and used them in a paragraph?  I often look for
words in a dictionary (actually, first in a thesaurus), and then use
them.  Does that make my use "phoney"?


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