[Ads-l] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Fri Aug 14 16:45:35 UTC 2015


And thus the Monty Python RAF Banter sketch:


> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
> Sent: Friday, August 14, 2015 10:39 AM
> Subject: Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Circa 1942 a journal called "Great Britain and the East" presented a passage of slang together with a translation. However, the Burton
> phrase was given a different meaning:
> Slang: One bought it; the other two went for a Burton.
> Translation: One was killed: the other two were severely reprimanded.
> A line with three asterisks was used as a spacer in the original text.
> Year: 1943 (GB Year is 1942; probes for 1943 show headers indicating some issues in the volume appeared in 1943; the body of the text
> mentioned 1942 as the date the slang was spoken)
> Periodical: Great Britain and the East
> Volume 59
> Quote Page GB 29
> (Google Books snippet view; metadata may be inaccurate; OCR errors may be present; should be verified on paper/microfilm)
> [Begin extracted text]
> An item to conclude with even more
> Shavian in style than Shaw. Here it is:
> "Three ropey types, all sprogs, pranged
> a cheeseye kite on bumps and circuits.
> One bought it; the other two went for
> a Burton. They'd taken a shagbat Wofficer, who was browned off, along, and the Queen Bee was hopping mad." This may sound like double
> Dutch or a section from a New York cab-driver's vocabulary, but it's nothing of the sort. It's the King's English,  1942 version, as spoken--
> some- times--by the Royal Air Force.
> * * *
> A translation for those who don't
> understand such modern English would
> read: "Three unpopular individuals, all
> brand new pilot officers, crashed a worn- out aircraft while making practice cir- cuits and landings. One was killed: the other two were
> severely reprimanded.
> The station commander disapproved and
> roundly rated them. They had taken
> along a somewhat plain W.A.A.F. officer, who was bored, and the W.A.A.F. com- mandant was very angry.
>                      LONDONER.
> [End extracted text]
> Garson 

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