[Ads-l] "Be strung out (behind [NP])" = "be in love (with [NP])"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 21 04:53:58 UTC 2015

>From time to time, I Google a random memory of slang of days of yore to see
whether I can now document it, leaving aside the question of dating.

"Strung out (behind)" is well known WRT drug use. But, AFAIK - admittedly,
I've only half-assed the research - the use of the phrase with the meaning,
"stone in love (with)" is, at best, less known. It's not in the UD, anyway.

In back-in-the-day St. Louis, from the '40's on, at least, not only did the
phrase, _be strung out (behind [NP])_ have all of the usual
narcotics-related meanings, but it also had the meaning, "to have one's
nose open (for someone), to be stone in love (with someone)."

Damaged Goods: A Novel - Page 23
Roland S[pratlin] Jefferson[, MD] - 2005 (cf. Amazon) - ā€ˇPreview
But he was

_strung out behind Trixie_

the way she was strung out behind cocaine..

Of course, full documentation may well already be in the Ghost of HDAS Yet
To Come.

One cannot know, sadly.

The author was born in 1939, making him only a few years younger than I am.
So, he, too, may well know the term from ca. the '40's and be striving
gamely to save an interesting turn of phrase from undeserved extinction.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list