[Ads-l] "on-court gags =?utf-8?Q?=E2=80=94_?=or reams, as the players called them "

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Wed Dec 30 15:49:37 UTC 2015


This is a bit of a stretch, but might the term George notices be connected 
to the cant term RUM=good (originally mid 16thC, and later goes mainstream 
as meaning "odd")?

GDoS has REAM BLOAK as a spelling variant of RUM BLOKE (Hotton, _Slang 
Dictionary_ [1859]), and a possibly relevant American cite from 1937 -- Lil 
Hardin' Armstrong, lyric, "Born to Swing":  'pick cotton with Georgia 
reams'.

I don't know how late the sense of "rum" as "good" persisted in America, but 
if it hung on, it might morph (unrecorded) from an adjective into a noun. 
Over (back) to Jon at this point.

Robin Hamilton

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----Original Message----- 
From: Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 3:10 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: "on-court gags — or reams, as the players called them "

---------------------- Information from the mail 
header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: "on-court gags =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=94_?=or reams, as the 
players
              called them "
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Among other things, to "ream" has long meant to "victimize" in nasty or
painful ways.  Also to "upbraid" furiously.

The Globetrotters' noun, however, is new to me.

JL

On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 1:22 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>
wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      "on-court gags =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=94_?=or reams, as the 
> players
>               called them "
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> From the obituary of Meadowlark Lemon in today's NYTimes:
>
> Within a few years, he had assumed the central role of showman, taking 
> over
> from the Trotters=E2=80=99 long-reigning clown prince Reece Tatum, whom
> eve=
> ryone
> called Goose.
>
> Tatum, who had left the team around the time Lemon joined it, was a superb
> ballplayer whose on-court gags =E2=80=94 or reams, as the players called
> th=
> em =E2=80=94 had
> established the team=E2=80=99s reputation for laugh-inducing wizardry at a
> championship level.
>
> (This is referring to the Harlem Globetrotters basketball act.)
>
> I've tried for years through prayer and fasting to ascend to that glorious
> region where there are complete sets of HDAS, but I remain earthbound.  So
> I may never know whether HDAS has this term.
>
> GAT
>
>
> --=20
> George A. Thompson
> The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998..
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



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