[Ads-l] again with the pocketses

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 15 03:13:37 UTC 2015

"Be in X's pocket" = be under X's control as a consequence of bribery,
debt, blackmail, etc. has been around for a while, as has
"have X in one's pocket" = have X under control through bribery, etc.

On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 8:25 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      again with the pocketses
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I was just realizing, watching a cop show (Murder in the First), that =
> what makes "to be in X's pocket" really confusing is that there's a =
> non-monetary use of the expression that has nothing (directly) to do =
> with payoffs or bribes and everything to do with power and control.  =
> Terry English, an SFPD homicide inspector played by Taye Diggs, is =
> explaining to a lower-ranking and/or more naive detective the background =
> behind the shooting of a detective that was first classified as a case =
> of friendly fire, then suicide, and now murder: "Kaleb was in the Nazis' =
> pocket so he gave them all of Navarro's personal information."  "In the =
> pocket of" here as far as I can tell means "under the control of"; maybe =
> blackmail was involved, maybe not (I'm not following too closely), but =
> the contents of the metaphorical pocket don't seem to include literal =
> money. =20
> LH=
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