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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 20 15:54:07 UTC 2015


Welcome Peter and thanks for sharing an intriguing citation. Extracted
text suggests that the discussion concerning "Gone for a Burton" was
contained within an article that reviewed one or more books about
slang.

A snippet from the same page of "John O'London's Weekly" did mention a
book about slang called "Service Slang" compiled by J. L. Hunt and A.
G. Pringle publisher by Faber. It is possible that the phrase "Gone
for a Burton" was contained within the book "Service Slang". The
linkage to Cockney slang might also appear in "Service Slang".
Alternatively, the article in "John O'London's" Weekly" might
reference more than one book about slang. I have only extracted small
sections of the full article. It is also possible that the article
author made the linkage to Cockney slang without support from any
book.

In the Cockney slang examples I have seen the rhyme is employed during
an intermediate stage. The final slang word does not rhyme with the
initial target word. For example, "stairs" is transformed into
"apples". The intermediate rhyming phrase is "apples and pears". The
word "pears" rhymes with "stairs", but it is not used.

Transforming "Gone for certain" to "Gone for a Burton" does not seem
to match the Cockney slang derivation pattern although it might be
some kind of intermediate stage. (This same point was made by Dan
Goncharoff when discussing the linkage between "curtain" and
"Burton".)

Year: 1943
Periodical: John O'London's Weekly
Issues 1210-1223
Quote Page 170
Database: Google Books snippet; data may be inaccurate and should be
verified on paper; probing with the year 1943 reveals snippets
indicating that the volume does contain issues from 1943.

[Begin extracted text]
There are traces, too, of an older argot. The Cockney has taken his
rhyming slang with him into the Services. "Cape of Good Hope" is still
-- as it was in the last war -- "soap"; and "Gone for a Burton" is
"Gone for certain." The compilers regret that, owing to space, they
have had to omit many examples of rhyming slang ; though one may enter
a slight protest that they have noted so famous a derivation as "tin
titfor" (steel helmet) as "seagoing term" only, and ...
[End extracted text]

[Begin extracted text from an earlier position on the same page]
... imagine any circles which have not been made acquainted with at
least some phrases of Service slang. My own reaction to reading
through Service Slang (collected by J. L. Hunt and A. G. Pringle and
published by Faber at the modest price ...
[End extracted text]

Special thanks to Stephen for accessing the journal "Great Britain and
the East" and sharing what he found on the page containing the phrase
"went for a Burton".

Garson


On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 7:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Could be - but that would seem to indicate that the ale really is behind it.
>
> FWIW, "gone for certain" strikes me as somewhat unidiomatic, at least in
> the context of air warfare.
>
> JL
>
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 4:39 PM, Peter Morris <
> peter_morris_1 at blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Peter Morris <peter_morris_1 at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK>
>> Subject:      go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> This is my first posting. I hope it attaches to the thread correctly.
>> Apologies if not.
>>
>>
>> Here's  a different early (1943) suggested etymology:=20
>> http://tinyurl.com/pt3emtn
>>
>> "The Cockney has taken his rhyming slang with him into the
>> Services. "Cape of Good Hope" is still -as it was in the last=20
>> war- "soap"; and "gone for a Burton" is "Gone for certain."
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list