fun with phrases

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 1 03:22:52 UTC 2011

Interesting use of "Come Back Road":
The Lyceum magazine, Volume 26
February 1917, p53
"And when they come out every man of them knows that all Pittsburgh is
waiting to give them a square deal on the Come Back Road."

I am familiar with the phrase "come-back road" from logging.


On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 3:43 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: fun with phrases
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> II.
> "On the comeback trail."
> OED has this kind of "comeback" from 1908, but no "comeback trail."
> 1921 Dean Snyder in _Ogden Standard-Examiner_ (Last Edition) (Feb. 5) 6
> [Newspaper Archive]: "It will be different this time." This is the
> philosophy which [Jess] Willard has worked out after a year and a half in
> meditation. He has sought the comeback trail among the Kansas sunflowers.
> 1921 Jack Lawrence in _New York Tribune_ (Nov. 8) 15 [Chronicling America]:
> Pete Herman, who twice has held and lost the bantamweight championship of
> the world, is taking the old Come-Back Trail which so often leads to
> failure. ...[T]he Come-Back Trail is smeared with the shadows of defeat and
> strewn with the forms of ancient boxers who couldn't make the grade.
> 1925 _Oakland Tribune_ (Apr. 27) [unp.] [NewspaperArchive]: There is no
> steeper trail, perhaps, than the come-back trail -- that climb that must be
> made by erring ones who would re-establish themselves in the eyes of the
> world.
> (There's even a cartoon illustration of the presumably unfamiliar phrase:  a
> chap with a receding hairline tries to scale a sheer cliff in wingtips).
> The two databases find only two or three other exx. before 1926.  After
> that, it's on sports pages everywhere.
> One wonders whether the "comeback trail" was a term first used by hikers and
> such for the "return trail."
> JL

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