duck face in 1904
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 29 00:42:56 UTC 2013
Now that "selfie" has breached the lexicographical barriers "duckface"
may try to sneak through the same rift.
Back in May 2011 Nancy Friedman's blog Fritinancy ran a post titled
"Word of the Week: Duckface":
Duckface: “The face made if you push your lips together in a
combination of a pout and a pucker, giving the impression you have
larger cheekbones and bigger lips” (Urban Dictionary word of the day,
June 9, 2010).
Nancy points to a New York Times review in 2011 of the journals of
literary critic Alfred Kazin:
He’s suspicious of the chic young Susan Sontag; in 1978 he refers to
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the future Supreme Court justice, as "duck face."
Here is a citation for a 1904 article in an Illinois newspaper
containing an anecdote about a Chinese waiter using the term "Duck
Date: April 1, 1904
Newspaper: Daily Illinois State Register
Article title: Servants in China
Article subtitle: The Way They Show Their Contempt For Foreigners
Newspaper location: Springfield, Illinois
"You should hear the beautiful names
these waiters call us," he said "The
butler has been referring to me all
evening as 'He of the Dragon Face,'
When you [speaking to the president
of the mess] asked for the soda be call-
ed out, 'Give the poison water to old
Duck Face.' 'Fill the glass of Hog
Eyes.' 'When Big Mouth has finished
with the fire wine pass it to Red Eyed
The modern "duckface" is a temporary facial distortion. The 1904 "duck
face" might have referred to a less transitory facial configuration.
So the semantics are not identical.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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