[Ads-l] The _third degree_ antedating (?)

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sat Oct 22 21:42:12 EDT 2016


                GDoS has the first cite from 1890:

_____

1890  [US]  G.W. Walling Recollections 189: This indicates that the prisoner is
going to pass a bad quarter of an hour, or what is known in police slang as
‘getting the third degree.’.

_____

         George Walling rose to Captain under George W.Matsell, and was
Matsell's blue-eyed boy until they picked different sides in 1857.  He had a rep
as something of a tough customer, but may have picked up on the term (if not the
activity), "the third degree", from his boss.  

Interesting, maybe, that he describes it as "police slang", suggesting that it
started life as a term on that side of the counter.

Whatever, when he says, "third degree", he knows whereof he speaks.

Robin Hamilton

> 
>     On 23 October 2016 at 01:53 Peter Morris <peter_morris_1 at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK>
> wrote:
> 
> 
>     Online Etymology Dictionary dates "third degree" to 1900.
> 
>     http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=third+degree&allowed_in_frame=0
> 
> 
>     Here's a cite that appears to be from 1898.
> 
>     http://tinyurl.com/h6sswby
> 
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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