Antedating of "jack-o'-lantern", "twistified adj.", "by jiminy"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Jan 2 17:38:46 UTC 2011

1832 Jan. 31.

[4/1]  Dear Tim,---The holly days---as they call them here---are
pretty well over. The holly days are from Christmas to New Year's ...
      ... They have a story here among the old Dutch women ... that
an old Dutch Saint named S[am?] Claws, or San[t?]y Crose, or some
such [t?]wistifie[d?] name comes into the city Christmas and New
Year's night in a waggon and four horses, loaded with presents, and
drives right down [the?] chimnies, like a poker moon shine or a jacky
lantern, and leaves something for the children, who hangs up their
stocking in the corner to receive it. Just tell your Sally of that,
and when she comes here if she'll hang up her stockings the old
whipper-snapper may put _something_ in em, or I will [if he?] don't.
      ... The Yorkers are always a laughin at our Yankee notions, but
I guess this beats us all holler.
      ... New Years day ... In the first place the stuck up folks who
tried to break up the custom of visiting ... hauled in their horns
this year ...
      ... you can tell pretty well by things on that day how folks
have been doin since last time. If they've done well, they launch out
in high style and make a great show. This was the case with Mrs.
Sniggens the grocer's wife[.] The old fellow got along amazingly last
year, not withstanding the temperance societies, and so his bigger
half let folks know it by the persuasion of her delicacies. There was
ham and roast-turky [etc.].

[4/2]  We dragged on this style [crowded in a coach] till we got most
down to the foot of Canal street, and then I couldn't stand it no
longer. By jiminy! If my back didn't ake then there's no snakes, that's all[.]
      ... Yours, ENOCH TIMBERTOES.

      "twistified adj." antedates OED2 (s.v. "twistify, v.") 1872-.
      "poker, n.3" (a hobgoblin et al.) not in OED3 (April 2008)
[any] attributive use, "poker moon shine".
      "jack-o'-lantern" antedates OED2 sense 3, 1837-.
      "whipper-snapper" ? new sense OED2 not a "young fellow".
      "Yorker" interdates OED2 sense 2, 1776 -- 1866.
      "stuck-up, adj"  interdates OED2  1829 - 1839  [3 years from
Edinb. Rev. -- earliest citation -- to Easton, MD]
     "horn, n" not in OED2 sense 2, Phrases and proverbs, "haul in
ones horns".  [There is one instance in OED on-line, s.v. "meech v.",
dated 1833.]
      "by jiminy" antedates OED2 1848- [for this particular form]

1832 Jan. 31.
Republican Star and General Advertiser [Easton, Maryland], 4/1.  {EAN]
Article "From the Constellation / Adventures on New Year's. / New
York, January 10th, 1832."


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list