[Ads-l] siftless

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 30 11:50:38 UTC 2015


GB and WorldCat provide evidence of a 1960 book with "sympathy" placed
between "sin" and "syphilis" in the dictionary.

Year: 1961 (1960 copyright)
Title: Closer to the Sun
Author: George Henry Johnston
Quote Page 154
Published by Morrow, New York (WorldCat lists 1960 Collins, London edition)
Database: Google Books snippet view; data may be inaccurate

[Begin extracted text]
He sounded almost hysterical. "If I want sympathy, brother," he said
in a lower voice, "I can find it where I've always found it - in the
dictionary, between 'sin' and 'syphilis'!"
[End extracted text]

Garson


On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 7:23 AM, 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: siftless
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> A USMC veteran interviewed on the BBC series "The World at War" (1974)
> recalled that his drill instructor during WW2 had told him, "If you're
> looking for sympathy, look in the dictionary between 'shit' and 'syphilis.'"
>
> It was the first "shit" I'd ever heard on TV.
>
> JL
>
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:39 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: siftless
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:23 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> >
>> > "You'll get no sympathy from me! You want sympathy, look in the
>> > dictionary between shit and syphilis!"
>> > --"Major Payne" (1995)
>> > http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110443/quotes
>> >
>> > Googling for "sympathy," "shit," and "syphilis" reveals many
>> > variations on this theme. The earliest I've found is from Grover
>> > Lewis's article, "Splendor in the Short Grass: The Making of the Last
>> > Picture Show" (_Rolling Stone_, Sept. 2, 1971, reprinted in _Splendor
>> > in the Short Grass: The Grover Lewis Reader_, 2005).
>> >
>> > "In a sudden hush, the cameras begin to roll, but Cybill blows the
>> > take by missing her mark parking the convertible. When she stammers
>> > out an apology, the sound mixer stage-whispers gruffly: 'Sympathy can
>> > be found in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, sister.'"
>> >
>> > https://books.google.com/books?id=YvMhSH0x8voC&pg=PA27
>> >
>> http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/25/the-stacks-how-peter-bogdanovich-shot-the-last-picture-show.html
>>
>> Earlier still:
>>
>> "I didn't have to look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis for
>> sympathy so long as he was available."
>> --Hal Travers (pseud. for Gerald B. Lorentz), _Voyage Sixty-Nine_ (1967)
>>
>> And this cite suggests it's an old hobo maxim:
>>
>> "There is a saying on the rails: 'You find sympathy between shit and
>> syphilis in the dictionary.'"
>> --Tracy Kidder & Michael Mathers, "Hobo Convention," _Audience_
>> (Sept.-Oct. 1971, Vol. 1, No. 5)
>>
>> > Garson has collected some other dictionary-order sayings on Quote
>> Investigator:
>> >
>> > http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/10/20/dict/
>> > http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/12/03/duty-pleasure/
>>
>> --
>> Ben Zimmer
>> http://benzimmer.com/
>>
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>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
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