Cut one's name

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jun 20 17:36:39 UTC 2012

I'd think "etch one's name" would be worth searching too.  Here's one from GB, from the 1910 Worcester Magazine (vol. 13) on Isaiah Thomas (not the point guard), involving a nice semi-pun:
Far in advance of his contemporaries, he etched his name deep in the scroll headed by Gutenberg and Fust--etched it so deeply that Harry Lyman Koopman, librarian of Brown University, writing in the Printing Art, described him as "the greatest American printer down to the advent of certain men now living…"


On Jun 20, 2012, at 1:26 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:

> Here is an instance of "cut his name deep in our history" dated 1903
> internally together with some other raw matches in GB. I like Dan's
> 1900 literal or quasi-literal citation.
> Cite: 1904, The Works of Alexander Hamilton in Twelve Volumes: Federal
> Edition, Edited by Henry Cabot Lodge, Volume 1, Preface to Second
> Edition by H. C. Lodge [dated July 8, 1903], Quote Page vi,  G. P.
> Putnam's Sons, New York. (Google Books full view)
> [Begin excerpt]
> Hamilton was a thinker as well as an actor. He did many great deeds.
> He cut his name deep in our history. His influence is felt to-day, as
> it always has been, in our government and our policies.
> [End excerpt]
> Below is some data from  raw unverified matches in Google Books.
> (Dates may be inaccurate etcetera.):
> The Technical world: Volume 1
> Page 198
> 1904
> Day after day a stream of people passed the lad, though none of them
> dreamed that this urchin, selling apples at three for five cents,
> would in time cut his name deeper in the history of St. Louis than any
> other man of his generation.
> Transactions of the Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases of the ...
> Page 28
> American Medical Association. Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases
> 1910
> Dr. Charles L. Dana is the one man familiar to us who, in charge of a
> large general hospital service, has cut his name deep into neurologic
> history.
> The theosophist: Volume 33
> Theosophical Society (Madras, India)
> 1912
> And this is noticeable: that if there is a general who has cut his
> name deeply in the history of his time, cut it in letters that gleam
> out blood-red and dazzle the minds of the nations, such a name
> disappears, such a fame vanishes, while These remain.
> On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: Cut one's name
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> I've seen the more transparent "chiseled [one's] name [into history]" or
>> similar. This doesn't strike me as being particularly odd (or a mixed
>> metaphor).
>>    VS-)
>> On 6/20/2012 11:27 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>> I don't think it's a (mixed metaphor? blend?).  Rather, "to inscribe
>>> permanently or deeply, as on a monument or honor roll."
>>> It tales a while to search "cut, v."in the OED.  Some possible
>>> ancestral relatives:
>>> 16.b. To come across, strike, hit upon (a path, etc.). esp. U.S. with trail.
>>> VI. To shape, fashion, form, or make by cutting.
>>>   23.a. To make or form by cutting (e.g. a statue, engraving, seal,
>>> jewel, etc.), to sculpture or carve (a statue or image), to engrave
>>> (a plate, seal, etc.), to fashion (a stone or jewel), to shape
>>> (garments, utensils, etc.).
>>> Or perhaps another ancestral relative?
>>> 25. To perform or execute (an action, gesture, or display of a
>>> grotesque, striking, or notable kind): chiefly in certain established
>>> phrases, as to cut a caper [etc.].
>>> Joel
>>> At 6/20/2012 08:32 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>>>> Cut one's teeth plus made one's name?
>>>> Stephen
>>>> ________________________________________
>>>> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of
>>>> Dave Wilton [dave at WILTON.NET]
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 7:54 AM
>>>> Subject: [ADS-L] Cut one's name
>>>> Saw an odd phrase this morning on OUP's blog, which I guess makes it British
>>>> but probably still of interest to the list. "Cut one's name" meaning "built
>>>> one's reputation." I've never seen, or at least noticed, this construction
>>>> before. A quick Google search turns up nothing but literal references to
>>>> carving one's name in trees or other objects. (Although other examples may
>>>> be buried in there somewhere.)
>>>> "This is the context in which Alan Turing cut his name as a cryptographer
>>>> during the Second World War."
>>>> --Dave Wilton
>>>>   dave at
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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