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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 21 08:21:36 UTC 2015

The best HDAS can do (i.e., "could have done"):

1962 in Bruce Jackson _In the Life_ (1972, rpt. N.Y.: NAL, 1974) 160: I was
in high school and I got strung out behind some old cottontail, you know.

1965 in Woodie  King, Jr., & Ron Milner, eds. _Black Drama Anthology_
(N.Y.: NAL, 1972) 302: Gloria...was pretending we were just visitors who
were strung out over her.

1967 _Current Slang_ II 46: Bill is strung out behind Jane.


Wilson should make a list of this stuff from before the early '60s, when
non-jazz related AAV slang was first noticed in the "mainstream media."

I have very little expectation that a pre-1962 printed antedating will turn


On Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 12:53 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Be strung out (behind [NP])" = "be in love (with [NP])"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> https://books.google.com/books?isbn=3D0743268873
> Roland S[pratlin] Jefferson[, MD] - 2005 (cf. Amazon) - =E2=80=8EPreview
> 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.
> --=20
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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

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