Antedatings and new sense of "cut the stick"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 15 16:40:45 UTC 2014

> It sounds more like the words of a sailor as wrote by Melville.

It's all relative. It doesn't sound too much like Melville either.


On Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 11:24 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Antedatings and new sense of "cut the stick"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I'll be blowed if the below'd is Nathaniel Hawthorne.
> (1)  I've read every one of NH's short pieces, the American
> Notebooks, True Stories, three of his completed novels, and two of
> his incomplete novels, and I do not remember this.
> (2)  I admit I do not remember every word in what I've read, but as
> one of the fiercely competitive antedaters I'm positive that if I had
> read "I'm blowed if he cut stick" I would have sent it to the list or to
> Jesse.
> (3)  It doesn't read like anything NH would write.
> (4)  What character could he have put such dialogue into the mouth
> of?  I can't imagine.  But I haven't read much of his later
> works.  It would have to be dialogue, either in a novel or in a
> quotation, such as in the later notebooks or the letters.
> (5)   It sounds more like the words of a sailor as wrote by Melville.
> Joel
> At 1/15/2014 03:47 AM, Hugo wrote:
> >The same meaning is found in the US, but also another sense of "to die".
> >
> >Maximilian Schele de Vere's Americanisms; the English of the New World
> >(1872) says on page 594:
> >
> >[Begin]
> >To cut one's sticky used in England instead of to leave, has been
> >enlarged in its meaning by American vigor of speech, and here often
> >means to die. " I'm blowed if he cut stick" (N. Hawthorne.)
> >[End]
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >I'm not sure where the N[athaniel?] Hawthorne quotation comes from.
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