rents - parents

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 29 09:40:30 UTC 2011

We are roughly in the same age group and went to college at the same
time. Of course, I did not grow up in NJ--nor in US, in fact--so I could
not have heard it in the 1970s. I did, however, hear it in college,
which is why I said it was from the 80s. This does not preclude the
expression being older, as everything seems to converge on that one 1968

I have another, from 1975. And it's primary--in the sense of not being a
Hey, naked lady ; a new comedy in two acts. By Fred Carmichael. 1975
[Copyright is given under the publisher, Samuel French. But the
character listing page gives the date of first performance as August 22,
1974, at the Dorset Playhouse, Dorset, VT]
> JODY: I wonder if I was a planned baby? Hey, that's freaky. Was I
> planned or a surprise?
> ROBERT: Why don't you /ask your rents/? (Drinks from his glass on
> coffee table.)

It's the only GB hit I got for various "ask X rents". Other combinations
give thousands of hits in the relevant period (1960-80)--not something I
plan to do any time soon.


On 9/29/2011 4:29 AM, Damien Hall wrote:
> My wife (b. 1964, brought up and educated in northern NJ, college in suburban Philly) certainly uses 'rents' for 'parents'. While this wouldn't allow an antedating of the unverified 1968 cite, as she wouldn't have been calling them that before the age of 4, it certainly confirms that this was fairly common usage by at least the late 1970s and into the early 1980s (she was in college 1982-6).
> Another similar clipping she used then and uses jocularly now is 'za' ('pizza'), previously discussed here.
> Damien

The American Dialect Society -

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