[Ads-l] _do one of these numbers_ "a phrase that precedes the miming of an action"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 14 07:29:39 EDT 2019


OED's 1908 is already highly figurative.  "Roll your hoop" = take one's
leave.  "Shopping" = shopping.

JL

On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 3:59 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Perhaps this phrase (coupled with an action) is derived from the show
> business term "number" referring to a routine in a performance. Here
> is a citation in 1957 that contains the statement: "We did a number
> like Flanagan and Allen do." After delivering this statement the
> speaker mimicked part of the routine.
>
> Date: June 6, 1957
> Newspaper: Journal Every Evening (The News Journal)
> Newspaper Location: Wilmington, Delaware
> Article: Theatre-in-Round Will Stick, 'Hellzapoppin ' Comic Predicts
> Author: Haynes Johnson
> Quote Page 33, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> "Well, we get there and Flanagan and Allen are sitting in the third
> row. So later in the show Chick and I dress up like Flanagan and Allen
> and come out and do a number. And Flanagan and Allen come up and join
> us. They loved it.
>
> "We did a number like Flanagan and Allen do. You know, like this:
> 'Underneath the A-A-A-R-C-H-E-S, dum de dum de dum. . ." Ole cocked
> his eyebrows, tapped his feet lightly, and hummed. "It went over
> great."
> [End excerpt]
>
> The Oxford English Dictionary has "number" with the two senses below
> in the domain of show business. But the OED suggests that "number"
> usually has a modifying word when used in the theatrical domain. An
> action of imitation could act as a non-verbal modifier.
>
> [Begin excerpts from OED]
> number, n.
> 5. a. An item in a programme of (musical) entertainment; (sometimes)
> spec. each more or less distinct section of an opera, oratorio, etc.
> Also (more generally): any song or tune.
> 1865   tr. L. Spohr Autobiogr. I. 72   I now expected that..all those
> ‘Numbers’ in which Titus has to sing, would be omitted.
> 1874   Catholic World Sept. 787   The director of the music
> should..sacrifice even the most admirable musical numbers to the
> exigencies of the ceremonial.
>
> 5. b. Chiefly with modifying word: (a part of) a theatrical or other
> performance; a routine, a turn.
> 1908   K. McGaffey Sorrows of Show Girl ii. 30   I've got to roll my
> hoop and do a shopping number.
> 1939   J. B. Priestley Johnson over Jordan 67   And now, friends, a
> new novelty act, the first time here, and I know it will be a socko
> number.
> [End excerpts from OED]
>
> Garson
>
> On Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 2:19 AM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I mentioned the existence of this feature of BE some pre-Google years
> ago.
> > As is the case with a plethora of words and phrases peculiar to BE, I
> could
> > provide no documentation of this turn of phrase. But, given enough time,
> > documentation of almost anything can be found in Google.
> >
> > Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff
> > https://books.google.com › books
> > Walter Dean Myers - 1988 - ‎Juvenile Fiction - Unpaginated
> > Binky'll _do one of these numbers_, man. Bipp! Bipp! Bop-a rop-DOP! And
> the
> > cat'll be knocked out, that's what's going to happen.” Sam was hopping
> > around and throwing punches at an imaginary person.
> >
> > "We could do one of these numbers." He got up and started dancing.
> >
> > Final Things: A Novel of Suspense
> > https://books.google.com › books
> > Virgil Thompson - 2002 - ‎Fiction  - Page 263
> > "You'd _do one of these numbers_.” He shows me, darts his eyes. “People
> > can't help it, what they do when they lie."
> >
> > Forget the headlines: Here are 5 fundamental facts about ...
> > https://freespeech.org › stories ›
> > forget-the-headlines-here-are-5-fundamen...
> > Nov 14, 2013 - I _did one of these numbers_, like Michelle from Destiny's
> > Child: photo destinys-child-michelle-lol-o_zps3a9619be.gif.
> >
> > Hanzo's damage just made me laugh - General Discussion - Overwatch ...
> > https://us.forums.blizzard.com › overwatch ›
> hanzos-damage-just-made-me-l...
> > Aug 14, 2018 - 8 posts - ‎4 authors
> > I watched what happened as Hanzo headshot me, _did one of these numbers_
> >  :face_with_raised_eyebrow: [sic] and went to his hero page on the
> > Overwatch wiki.
> >
> > Wild video shows turkey crashing into truck windshield on I-75 ...
> > www.fox13news.com › news › local-news › wild-video-shows-turkey-cras...
> > Feb 28, 2019 - "It was attempting to land, I thought, and then it just
> _did
> > one of these numbers_. Whoop. Boom!" Gerken said.
> >
> > Ancella Bickley Collection Highlights African ... - WVU Libraries
> > https://news.lib.wvu.edu › 2019/05/14 ›
> > ancella-bickley-collection-highlig...
> > May 14, 2019 - And all of a sudden, she thought about who I was, and she
> > _did one of these numbers_ [dropped her arms and jumped back over from
> her].
> > --
> > -Wilson
> > -----
> > All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> > come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> > -Mark Twain
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


-- 
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