[Ads-l] "ribbit" redux

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 15 13:42:05 EDT 2018


Here is a slightly earlier citation for the Smothers Brothers instance
although the text does not directly state that the phrase emerged from
a frog-like or toad-like entity.

Date: April 17, 1967
Newspaper: Tampa Bay Times
Newspaper Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Article: Suncoasting
Author: Marian Coe
Quote Page 3D, Column 2
Database: Newspapers.com

https://www.newspapers.com/image/320276262/

[Begin excerpt]
The Bill Spicklemires are christening a new 36-footer with flying
bridge the "Ribit" . . . Explaining that one, Bill says they were
pondering 103 name suggestions other night when they caught the
Smothers Brothers' show with the gag line "ribit, ribit" . . .
[End excerpt]
On Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 1:03 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> https://mentalfloss.com/article/556977/words-and-phrases-that-came-from-tv-shows
> Angela Tung, "10 Words and Phrases That Came From TV Shows"
> Mental Floss, Sept. 14, 2018
>
> This article cites an old ADS-L post of mine on the word "ribbit" as the
> onomatopoetic sound of a frog.
>
> -----
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-March/047051.html
> The OED entry for "ribbit" = 'sound made by a frog' gives a first cite of
> c1968 from the _Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour_ ("That's right. Ribit! I am.
> I am a frog").  There's a note from the Smothers Brothers program manager
> saying that he doubted that this was the first use of the word.
> In a discussion of "ribbit" on the alt.usage.english newsgroup, Donna
> Richoux found a reference online to a 1965 _Gilligan's Island_ episode with
> Mel Blanc voicing the character of "Ribbit the Frog"...
> http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/GuidePageServlet/showid-599/epid-10123/
> Gilligan's Island - Water, Water Everywhere
> Episode Number  14
> First Aired     January 2, 1965
> Production Code 0714
> Writer          Tom Waldman & Frank Waldman
> Director        Stanley Z. Cherry
> Guest Stars:    Mel Blanc (as Ribbit the Frog (voice))
> -----
>
> When the OED was revising the "ribbit" entry a few years later, Jesse
> Sheidlower tried to confirm the 1965 use but didn't find anything
> definitive, so the Smothers Brothers example is still the earliest given.
> (In the etymological note it says: "Other sources associate early uses of
> the term with 'Mel' Blanc (1908-89, U.S. voice actor and comedian), but
> conclusive evidence has not been found.") Can anyone find confirmation of
> the Gilligan's Island example from contemporary sources (or any other
> antedating)?
>
> --bgz
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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