[Ads-l] More "hard leg" trivia

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 13 04:48:18 UTC 2015

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang - Page 681
Jonathon Green - 2005 - ā€ˇPreview
hard leg n. (also hard legs) (US Black) 1 [1940s+] a tough man or boy. 2
[1940s+] a man who devotes all his time and energies to pursuing the street
life and the world of strictly male endeavour - pimping, HUSTLING n. etc. 3
[1960s+] an ugly woman, esp. an old, worn-out prostitute.

Nothing in this definition corresponds to my personal experience of the
term, living in The Lou from ca. 1941-1962. I don't know any slang that
means "an old, worn-out prostitute."

Clearly, Saint Louis is a slang-island as well as a speech-island, which is
not to say that there was any unnatural prissiness in the local slang.
Local suds didn't think twice before using a term like "my whore" in place
of "my girlfriend" or "your/his whore" in place of "your/his mother."

OTOH, Cassel's does correctly, IME, define "scag" as "an unattractive woman
[or girl]. [var."

Unfortunately, the snippet ends there. I've always considered it to be
possibly a variant of "scank." Back in the day, both words referred only to
a woman's looks and not to her morals and were used interchangeably, with
no distinguishing nuances. Cassell's says "1960s+" and "US campus/black."
"Scag is, IME, younger - dating from the '50's, hence black and not campus
- than "skank" - two days older than water.

Because I read a lot, I knew about "scag" as doper-talk, but I've never
heard it used that way in the wild. Too boojie ever to have come into
contact with people of that ilk, I reckon. My friends and I didn't even
have any contact with (black) people who used weed, in my glory days.

Legalize it!
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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