[Ads-l] anachronism watch--or OED lapse?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 25 06:36:05 UTC 2015


I'd like to see a little more context for "1876," regardless of sex.

I've collected the following material in the last couple of years:

GUY, n. 1.a. A ridiculous, freakish-looking, or freakishly dressed person.

1862 _Eve. Bulletin_ (S.F.) (Aug. 13) 1: Our officers...dress like regular
"guys," wear mutton-pie caps, baggy trousers, and bob-tail coats...as thick
and course as a horse blanket. ...

b. A figure of fun; a person who is a ridiculous spectacle.

1871 _Plain Dealer_ (Cleve. O.) (Apr. 24) 2: If he didn't make such an old
guy of himself. ...

c. A foolish-acting or useless old man; geezer; a man who is a fool.

1880 _Rocky Mountain News_ (Denver) (May 9) 10: I'll scoop the old guy yet.
Ibid. (July 25) 8: Oh, hold up your hands you old guy.


JL

On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 9:03 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      anachronism watch--or OED lapse?
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> I was wondering about an exchange taking place in 1920 between two women =
> in a novel, _The Paris Wife_, by Paula McLain:
>
> Hadley Richardson: "You're a good guy, Kate."
> Kate Smith:              "You too, Hash."
>
> Kate is Kate Smith, not the singer, but a friend of Hadley Richardson; =
> Richardson is about to marry Ernest Hemingway, with whom Kate (as she =
> has just conceded) had previously herself been in love.  The two friends =
> have now reconciled, and some time later Hadley and Hemingway divorce, =
> while Kate Smith marries Hem's drinking and writing buddy John Dos =
> Passos.  Anyway, did women in fact use singular "guy", in non-vocative =
> uses, in 1920?  The OED would expect not
>
> Draft Additions October 2011:
>
> colloq. As a form of address to a man (cf. sense 3d). Also in pl. as a =
> form of address to a group of people, in later use sometimes a mixed or =
> all-female group.
>
> Sample cites are mostly plural, and include one from Dos Passos himself:
>
> 1876   Punch 14 Dec. 307   Look guys, court thumps and lumps!1918   =
> Stars & Stripes 5 Apr. 1/5   Tell you what, guy... This is better than =
> what they useter be.
> 1930   J. Dos Passos 42nd Parallel i. 102   Say, yous guys, this is =
> fellowworker McCreary.
> 1949   Los Angeles Times 6 Nov. ii. 7/1 (heading)    Hey, guys! He's =
> here. Santa gets set for early rush.
> 1993   M. Crichton Disclosure i. 22   Fuck 'em all. This reorg sucks. =
> I'm with you on this one, guy.
>
> Well, yes, but we know it's also used, and has been for some time, in =
> referential or predicative (and in any case non-address) use for a woman =
> as well as a man.  But for how long?  HDAS nicely clarifies matters:
>
> 2b.  a person of either sex, regarded as decent, down-to-earth, good =
> company, etc. [...]
> [which is exactly how Hadley and Kate are using it above]
>
> Jon's cites for this postdate the relevant time frame, but not by much:=20=
>
>
> 1927 E. O'Neill [in a letter] "She's a 'real guy'. You'd like her =
> immensely."
> 1929 Asch, _Pay Day_, "Be a good guy, Ma, and wait a couple of days."
>
> So maybe McLain's version of Hadley and Kate are jumping the gun a =
> little, but not by much.  The OED seems to need a somewhat more gender- =
> and register-inclusive draft entry.=20
>
> LH
>
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