[Ads-l] Antedating mullet (hairstyle)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 15 03:03:45 UTC 2015


I agree with Fred -- looks like Google Books is conflating the 1973
novel _Cinderella Liberty_ (written by Darryl Ponicsan) with an
unrelated book of the same title from 2013 (written and self-published
by Cat Johnson). The "mullet" cite is from the latter, and it has no
connection to the former beyond the title, as far as I can see.

For those interested in the hunt for "mullet" antedatings, I recommend
this installment of the OUP podcast Oxford Comment, where you can hear
from Katherine Martin and others about the failed quest to antedate
the Beastie Boys:

http://blog.oup.com/2015/06/mullet-word-origins/


On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:58 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>
> I believe this is a 2013 citation, not a 1973 citation.
>
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:30 PM, Peter Morris wrote:
> >
> >
> > OED Appeals
> >
> > http://public.oed.com/appeals/mullet/
> >
> > << The OED defines mullet as 'A hairstyle, worn esp. by men, in which the
> > hair is cut short at the front and sides, and left long at the back.' It was
> > certainly popularized, if not coined, by the hip-hop group the Beastie Boys,
> > whose song 'Mullet Head' [ from 1994] is the first known use of the term:
> > (snip)
> > Can you help find an earlier example of mullet? Or any proof that it truly
> > was coined by the Beasties? >>
> >
> > Comments say that they heard the term in 1970's, but give no written cite.
> > Well, here's one.
> >
> >
> > From the novel Cinderella Liberty by  Darryl Ponicsan, 1973, chapter 2
> >
> > http://tinyurl.com/qadm8z8
> >
> > <<Weekly haircuts, no matter what. So it had been since he'd joined. So it
> > would be until he retired.
> >
> > Maybe he'd grow his hairout after that. Probably wouldn't go with the mullet
> > that had been so popular when he'd joined, but he'd keep it longer than it
> > was now.>>

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