[Ads-l] the Big Apple again

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Fri Aug 10 17:37:08 EDT 2018


But "big apple" in the 19th century quotes is not specifically

a betting term.  Yes, it's used in a figurative betting expression

(e.g., "I'll bet you a big apple," or "We will wager a big red apple"),

but none of the attestations appear in an actual betting/gambling

context. For example, one does not find something like "Yesterday I bet

a big apple at the horse races," or "At the card game last night

there was heavy gambling, but I didn't bet a big apple."

    The most plausible semantic development for "big apple"

acquiring the meaning "NYC racetracks" in the 1920s is:

"big apple" (something very special) > "the big apple" (the big time)

 > "the big apple" (the big time in horseracing, i.e., the NYC

racetracks.)

     See John J. Fitz Gerald's 1924  and 1926 columns on

the derivation of "the big apple" (= NYC racetracks), which he calls

"his phrase." The columns give no  indication that "bet a big apple"

played any role in his thinking when coining the term.



Gerald Cohen


________________________________
From: George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>,
Thursday, August 9, 2018, 9:07 PM:

So, Barry Popik has examples of a "big apple" as a betting offer, from the
mid-19th century.  I give a tip of the Hatlo hat to him, in this and in
many other instances.

Also a tip of the Hatlo hat to Ms. Martin, for consulting Barry's copious
blog.

GAT

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.
>
> --=20
> George A. Thompson
> The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
>
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
>
> The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
> picture of his great-grandfather.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-
> gillray/an-excrescence---=
> a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



--
George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)
http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851

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

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


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