fun with phrases

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 22 23:41:48 UTC 2011

"Look out X! There's a new Y on the block!"

2,000,000 raw Google hits.  I just heard a Discovery Channel  show
from 2005 with  lines something like, "Look out Roswell [?]! There's a
new alien on the block!"

1978 _Flying_ (June) 28:  Look out, Goodyear, there's a new blimp on
the block. A West German company, Westdeutsch Luftwerbung, has moved
its 180-foot-long flying machine to the United States.

My own recollection of the phrase doesn't go nearly that far back, but
I have encountered it a number of times in advertising contexts.  The
1978 ex. sounds as though it may be playing off an already familiar

The only NYT appearance seems to have been on May 10, 1997: "Look out,
Johnson & Johnson. There's a new kid on the block."

As for "new kid on the block," the earliest figurative application may
be as follows. I can't verify the GB snippet, but the date looks
plausible since there's a passing reference to 1930:

1941 _The Spectator: Property Insurance Review_ VII [p.?]  : If you
look upon the law in each state as the neighborhood cop then you must
look upon a Reciprocal Exchange as the new kid on the block. The cop's
had many a tussle with the stock corporations, partnerships and mutual
companies, but this new kid, the Reciprocal, is unusual. He's not the
same as anay of the others, yet possesses certain elements of each.
Frankly, he seems to have the cop puzzled.

Exx. with the addition of "Look out!" (like 1978) imply that the "kid"
is not only "new," but is also a challenger who will likely usurp some
kind of primacy.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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