[Ads-l] the Big Apple again

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu Aug 9 12:51:47 EDT 2018


Yesterday I promised to send the first paragraph of Chapter 4

("Apples Regarded As Very Special") of the 2011 "Big Apple"

book that Barry Popik and I co-authored.  It provides an

overview of how "the big apple" got its figurative uses. Here now

is  that paragraph:

"The starting point for an analysis of the compiled 'big apple'

attestations is a clear understanding of just how important apples

have been throughout history, and, in particular, the special

admiration  received by the big red delicious apple in the late 19th

and early 20th  centuries.  The big red delicious apple, developed in

Iowa in the 1870's, led to two figurative uses of 'the big apple,' viz.

'big shot,' and 'the big time.'  The first one ('big shot') is essential to

 keep in mind when dealing with the pre-1921 attestations.  And the

second one ('the big time') led to the NYC racetracks (as 'the big time in

horse racing'), 'big time in horse racing in general,' Broadway as 'the big

time of show business,' the NYC jazz scene as 'the big time in jazz,' and

ultimately 'NYC' itself."


Gerald Cohen

(co-author with Barry Popik of _Origin of New York City's Nickname

"The Big Apple"_, 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Frankfurt am Main:

Peter Lang. 2011.)

________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, August 9, 2018 10:34 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: the Big Apple again

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: the Big Apple again
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.
> >
>

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

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list