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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 21 01:05:16 UTC 2015


Michael Quinion examined the possibility that Burton referred to a
brand and wrote that the "most probable candidate, the Burton Brewery
Co Ltd, closed in 1935 and was hardly well-known even before then."

Another hypothesis that has been raised on this thread is: Burton beer
referred to a type of beer and not a specific brand. Indeed, there are
many matches for "Burton beer" and "Burton Ale" in various databases
in the past.

Bass brewery was founded in 1777 and is based at Burton-upon-Trent.
There is some evidence of a "Bass's Burton ale". An advertisement in
1915 by an importer of Bass printed in a Connecticut newspaper stated
"Bass Strong Burton Ale / On Draught Everywhere". Perhaps it was "on
draught everywhere" in the U.K. Of course, 1915 is early. I do not
know if it was "on draught everywhere" in the U.K. in the 1930s and
1940s. Other brewers perhaps made Burton ales, i.e., a drink that a
pubgoer would call a "Burton".

The databases that I can search in the 1930s and 1940s primarily
contain U.S. newspapers, so it is difficult for me to access the
availability of Burton-type beers in the U.K.

Year: 1908
Title: Culture by Conversation
Author: Robert Waters
Quote Page 218

[Begin excerpt]
Everybody has heard of Bass's Burton ale; but not everybody knows that
the brewer of the same was made a lord, and is now known as Lord
Burton.
[End excerpt]


Date: November 8, 1915
Newspaper: The Day
Newspaper Location: New London, Connecticut
Description: Advertisement from Bass & Co., Importers, 90 Warren St., New York
Quote Page 4, Column 7

[Begin advertisement excerpt]
Bass Strong Burton Ale
On Draught Everywhere
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 4:07 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
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Garson, while "Cockney" rhyming slang usu. takes the binary form you
> mention, there are exceptions.
>
> E.g., "septic" for "American" (short for "septic tank" = Yank).
>
> That isn't the "gone for certain/ a Burton" pattern, but it does show that
> others exist.
>
> I still feel, however, that "gone for certain" is a strained interpretation
> that smacks loudly of folk etymology.
>
> That gut reaction gains support from searches of Google Books for ["gone
> for certain" + "RAF/ Blitz/ air force"]  Those search (remarkably) produces
> only *two* hits out of a bajillion possible instances - neither of which
> has anything to do with an aircrew or an airman being shot down.
>
> Long ago I consulted Hunt & Pringle's _Service Slang_ for items related to
> American military slang. The book is one more cartoon-illustrated, quickie
> slang glossary of some historical,  but  limited etymological, value.
>
> JL
>
> On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 11:54 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- 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
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> 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."
>> >>
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>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
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>
>
>
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> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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