[Ads-l] the Big Apple again

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 9 11:34:02 EDT 2018


Barry's got plenty of examples, from 1847 on...

https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/bet_a_big_apple/


On Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 8:29 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> So who in a position of influencing the nicknaming of NYC ever used the
> "nineteenth-century" phrase "bet a big apple"?
>
> Presumably it exists somewhere, but I've never encountered it, AFAICR..
>
> JL
>
>
>
> On Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 10:02 PM Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > For research into the origin of "The Big Apple" might I
> >
> > draw attention to _Origin of New York City's Nickname
> >
> > "The Big Apple"_, (co-authored by Gerald Leonard Cohen
> >
> > and Barry A. Popik) 2nd, revised and expanded edition,
> >
> > Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 2011.
> >
> >      This second edition contains the very valuable (actually
> >
> > extraordinary) research of attorney/independent scholar
> >
> > Barry Popik. And although OED3 mentions my 1991 book (for
> >
> > which I am very grateful), might I suggest that mention of it
> >
> > be replaced by the 2nd (2011) edition.
> >
> >      Popik and I each worked on "The Big Apple" for some 21
> >
> > years, and we incorporated (with due credit) the valuable input
> >
> > we received in the process, especially from ads-l members.
> >
> > George Thompson writes with appropriate skepticism: "I don't
> >
> > know that she  [OED etymology editor] is the source of the information
> >
> > given. I have never heard of "Big Apple" as a 19th century betting term
> --
> >
> > certainly never encountered it while reading 19th C newspapers."
> >
> > Neither have I and neither has Popik.
> >
> >      Incidentally, chapter 7 of Popik & Cohen 2011 is titled "'Big Apple'
> >
> > Incorrect Etymologies" and discusses eight such items.  With the
> >
> > powerhouses of OED and The New York Times teaming up to
> >
> > advance (however tentatively) a new etymology, I see it will be
> >
> > necessary to add a ninth incorrect etymology to the list.
> >
> >      Chapter 4 of Popik & Cohen 2011 is titled "Apples Regarded As
> >
> > Very Special," with the first paragraph providing a nice overview of
> >
> > how "the big apple" got its figurative start (big red delicious apple
> >
> > becomes "big shot" and "the big time.").  I'll present that paragraph
> >
> > in a separate e-mail tomorrow.
> >
> >    Might I also suggest: If any dictionary editors would like to treat
> any
> >
> > etymological items I've worked on and would welcome input,
> >
> > please feel free to contact me.
> >
> >
> > With best wishes.
> >
> >
> > Gerald Cohen
> >
> > Research specialty: etymology
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> > Sent: Wednesday, August 8, 2018 5:41 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: the Big Apple again
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> > Subject:      the Big Apple again
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
> >
> > There was an article in the NYTimes of this past Tuesday on words from
> > sports that have entered general speech.  It quotes Katherine Connor
> > Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press early on,
> but
> > I don't know that she is the source of the information given.
> > I have never heard of "Big Apple" as a 19th century betting term --
> >  certainly have never encountered it while reading 19th C newspapers.
> > The Big Apple
> >
> > Some New Yorkers refer to the Big Apple
> > <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/style/warren-buffett-omaha.html> as
> > =E2=80=9Cthe city.=E2=80=9D Style, May 7.
> >
> > In the 19th century, people with a lot of certainty about something might
> > have said that they were willing to =E2=80=9Cbet a big apple=E2=80=9D on
> > it=
> > .  Perhaps that
> > helped extend the use to horse racing, and New York=E2=80=99s racing
> > circui=
> > t, the
> > most prominent in the country, came to be known by the term.
> >
> > =E2=80=9CThe Big Apple,=E2=80=9D The Morning Telegraph wrote in 1924.
> =E2=
> > =80=9CThe dream of every
> > lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all
> horsemen.
> > There=E2=80=99s only one Big Apple. That=E2=80=99s New York.=E2=80=9D
> >
> > Soon all of New York had picked up the name.
> > A version of this article appears in print on Aug. 7, 2018, on Page B7 of
> > the New York edition with the headline: Where Do Sports Idioms Come From?
> > Left Field, Usually.
> >
>

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