"smash-mouth" + Univ. of Wisconsin student slang (1965)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 30 04:19:39 UTC 2011

On Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 10:49 PM, Ben Zimmer
<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â "smash-mouth" + Univ. of Wisconsin student slang (1965)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> For my latest On Language column, I dug into the history of some football
> lingo:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/magazine/30FOB-onlanguage-t.html
> Among the terms I consider is "smash(-)mouth." The earliest football usage =
> I
> found was from 1968:
> ---
> El Paso Herald-Post, Nov. 30, 1968, p. B2, col. 1
> "As I Was Saying," Bob Ingram
> Footballosophy of George Hummer, Arizona State center: "The name of the gam=
> e
> is smash mouth."
> ---
> As I mention in the column, a 1965 article about University of Wisconsin
> slang in the _Wisconsin State Journal_ identifies "smash mouth" as UW slang
> for "necking, making out." Excerpts from the article follow below. Many
> interesting items here, such as "dorm-dork" -- HDAS has "dork" as student
> slang for "a stupid or obnoxious person" from 1967.
> ---
> _Wisconsin State Journal_, Jan. 17, 1965, pp. 1-2
> "UW Slang Makes 'Smash' a Kissing Success" by David Bednarek
> [=85]
> Getting an "A" on a test is "aceing" it or "hooking" it. Getting an "F" or
> failing is called "flagging."
> A "heavy booker" is one who studies a lot while one who does the opposite
> will probably go into a test "cold" or unprepared. If the student is
> unpreapred and the test is multiple choice, he will probably do what is
> called "Christmas treeing it" or guessing at the correct answer.
> The university's use of data processing in recording grades, registration,
> and course assignment has led students to call the IBM machine a
> "Flunkenstein."
> [=85]
> [T]he male students describe a pretty girl as "tough"

Back in '57, there was an R&B song entitled _So Tough_":

"She's so tough / That's why I love her"

> or a "tough head." The
> coeds might describe the handsome guy as a "mass gasser," or a guy "who
> turns me on."
> On the other side would be the girl or guy called a "loser" or a
> plain-looking date with no personality. If the person is completely
> obnoxious, he would find himself "grossing out."
> A couple of other terms to describe bad dates as well as other people who
> don't find favor with students are "lunch bucket" or "out-to-lunch."
> One step lower than these persons would be the one or ones called "sandwich=
> "
> or "ham and cheese."
> A popular activity for dates at Wisconsin is going to a movie or

> "flick"

Back in the day, Mario Pei, IIRC, identified that as a Briticism.

> The whole process is often called

> "flicking out."

I invented this one independently, ca.1955. Sadly, it didn't catch on,
not even among my ace-boon coons. ;-)

> After the flick, the
> Badger couple might go "pubbing" or bar-hopping.
> If they have too much beer or "suds," they'd probably get "smashed" or
> "bombed."
> The guy or girl who comes close in passing out after only two or three
> glasses of beer is called a "short-hitter."
> If just one of the couple is a short-hitter, this is likely to lead to a
> sensitive situation or something termed "sticky wicket."
> But if the two are reasonably compatible in drinking ability and if the guy
> has "wheels" or a car, the activity after the bar closes becomes
> interesting.
> In Grandfather's time this activity was called "sparking," a term which
> might even come back because it has been away for so long.
> "Necking" came into vogue some time later, to be replaced by making out."
> This gave way among the cute set to "kissy face" a few years ago, but
> today's students are calling it "smash mouth."
> Once the girl has been returned to her quarters, the guy will return to
> Langdon st. if he is a "frat-rat," or to one of the University Residence
> Halls if he is a "dorm-dork" or one who lies in a dormitory.
> If the student is hung over the next morning, he might refer to himself as
> "palsied," and his "breth" (fraternity brothers) or "roomies" (room mates)
> won't have much compassion.
> ---
> --bgz
> --=20
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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