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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 25 18:44:08 UTC 2015


Masculine, yes. But not direct address to anybody. The sentence, as
revealed at GB, is descriptive, not imperative.

They "look guys" (i.e., like freaks). No one is saying, "Hey, youse guys!
Take a gander!"

> My sense from the cites is that "good guy", "regular guy", maybe "nice
guy" as predicates (you're/he's/she's a good guy) are earlier as applied to
female referents (qua HDAS "guy" 2b below) than other uses of (sg.) "guy"
are.

That is certainly what the evidence says to me.

Relatively gender-free alternatives in the '20s for anybody giving the
question a thought  would have been "good egg" (but probably not "regular
egg") and "good scout."

Can we attest a comparable "For she's a jolly good fellow"?

JL

On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 11:38 AM, 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:      Re: anachronism watch--or OED lapse?
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> > On May 25, 2015, at 2:36 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> =
> wrote:
> >=20
> > I'd like to see a little more context for "1876," regardless of sex.
>
> Agreed, but I see no reason to believe the sex is anything other than =
> masculine there.  My sense from the cites is that "good guy", "regular =
> guy", maybe "nice guy" as predicates (you're/he's/she's a good guy) are =
> earlier as applied to female referents (qua HDAS "guy" 2b below) than =
> other uses of (sg.) "guy" are; it's plausible to imagine they came in =
> during the post-WWI/Jazz Age period, but I'm just speculating here.
>
> The OED 1a/b/c uses below, more closely linked to the late Mr. Fawkes, =
> are of course different..
>
> LH
> >=20
> > I've collected the following material in the last couple of years:
> >=20
> > GUY, n. 1.a. A ridiculous, freakish-looking, or freakishly dressed =
> person.
> >=20
> > 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. ...
> >=20
> > b. A figure of fun; a person who is a ridiculous spectacle.
> >=20
> > 1871 _Plain Dealer_ (Cleve. O.) (Apr. 24) 2: If he didn't make such an =
> old
> > guy of himself. ...
> >=20
> > c. A foolish-acting or useless old man; geezer; a man who is a fool.
> >=20
> > 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.
> >=20
> >=20
> > JL
> >=20
> > On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 9:03 PM, Laurence Horn =
> <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >=20
> >> ---------------------- 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?
> >>=20
> >> =
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -----
> >>=20
> >> I was wondering about an exchange taking place in 1920 between two =
> women =3D
> >> in a novel, _The Paris Wife_, by Paula McLain:
> >>=20
> >> Hadley Richardson: "You're a good guy, Kate."
> >> Kate Smith:              "You too, Hash."
> >>=20
> >> Kate is Kate Smith, not the singer, but a friend of Hadley =
> Richardson; =3D
> >> Richardson is about to marry Ernest Hemingway, with whom Kate (as she =
> =3D
> >> has just conceded) had previously herself been in love.  The two =
> friends =3D
> >> have now reconciled, and some time later Hadley and Hemingway =
> divorce, =3D
> >> while Kate Smith marries Hem's drinking and writing buddy John Dos =3D
> >> Passos.  Anyway, did women in fact use singular "guy", in =
> non-vocative =3D
> >> uses, in 1920?  The OED would expect not
> >>=20
> >> Draft Additions October 2011:
> >>=20
> >> colloq. As a form of address to a man (cf. sense 3d). Also in pl. as =
> a =3D
> >> form of address to a group of people, in later use sometimes a mixed =
> or =3D
> >> all-female group.
> >>=20
> >> Sample cites are mostly plural, and include one from Dos Passos =
> himself:
> >>=20
> >> 1876   Punch 14 Dec. 307   Look guys, court thumps and lumps!1918   =3D=
>
> >> Stars & Stripes 5 Apr. 1/5   Tell you what, guy... This is better =
> than =3D
> >> what they useter be.
> >> 1930   J. Dos Passos 42nd Parallel i. 102   Say, yous guys, this is =3D=
>
> >> fellowworker McCreary.
> >> 1949   Los Angeles Times 6 Nov. ii. 7/1 (heading)    Hey, guys! He's =
> =3D
> >> here. Santa gets set for early rush.
> >> 1993   M. Crichton Disclosure i. 22   Fuck 'em all. This reorg sucks. =
> =3D
> >> I'm with you on this one, guy.
> >>=20
> >> Well, yes, but we know it's also used, and has been for some time, in =
> =3D
> >> referential or predicative (and in any case non-address) use for a =
> woman =3D
> >> as well as a man.  But for how long?  HDAS nicely clarifies matters:
> >>=20
> >> 2b.  a person of either sex, regarded as decent, down-to-earth, good =
> =3D
> >> company, etc. [...]
> >> [which is exactly how Hadley and Kate are using it above]
> >>=20
> >> Jon's cites for this postdate the relevant time frame, but not by =
> much:=3D20=3D
> >>=20
> >>=20
> >> 1927 E. O'Neill [in a letter] "She's a 'real guy'. You'd like her =3D
> >> immensely."
> >> 1929 Asch, _Pay Day_, "Be a good guy, Ma, and wait a couple of days."
> >>=20
> >> So maybe McLain's version of Hadley and Kate are jumping the gun a =3D
> >> little, but not by much.  The OED seems to need a somewhat more =
> gender- =3D
> >> and register-inclusive draft entry.=3D20
> >>=20
> >> LH
> >>=20
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> >=20
> >=20
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