Antedating of "Bat Out of Hell"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 20 08:32:24 UTC 2013

Hugo wrote
> Also, this is interesting, but probably not an HDAS or ADS-L antedating. Google claims this Dialect Notes is Volume 3 (page 399) from 1905 but it's a snippet and is probably several volumes run together. Searching for year numbers, I think this is more likely 1908 or 1909 as they show up near the same page. Anyway, it's good as it gives a descriptive reason for the phrase:
> [Begin excerpt]
> "like a bat out of hell, adv. phr. Very quickly. "Once all the bats were confined in Hell. They still have wings like the Devil. One day some one left the gate open and they quickly darted out and escaped to earth."
> [End excerpt]
> Please can someone confirm the actual year/volume of this, and is it the same as the HDAS entry?

Thanks for sharing some entertaining citations.

Dialect Notes, Volume 3 is visible in full view in HathiTrust. The
"like a bat out of hell" entry appears on page 399 which is sandwiched
between the cover pages numbered 341 and 435. Hence, it apparently is
in Volume III, Part V, 1909

Page 351 says
Dialect Notes, Volume III, Part V, 1909

Page 435 says
Dialect Notes, Volume III, Part VI, 1910


The American Dialect Society -

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