[Ads-l] Gomer Cool (1908-2012)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 4 17:06:52 EST 2020


A few web sites concur with deriving the acronym from that 1978 "Samuel Shem" novel, but JL’s entry in HDAS includes earlier cites (including one from a 1972 National Lampoon) in reference to ‘a patient, esp. if elderly, who is dirty, undesirable, or unresponsive to treatment, esp. a poor or homeless man who habitually seeks emergency-room treatment for minor or imaginary complaints’, which suggests that GOMER < ‘Get Out of My Emergency Room’ is a backronym.  

LH

> On Dec 4, 2020, at 2:15 PM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA) <0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> wrote:
> 
> In _Iatrian : The 1976 Yearbook of the Medical College of Pennsylvania_ is a limerick about a VA Gomer:
> 
> https://archive.org/details/iatrian76medi/page/3/mode/1up?q=%22a+gomer%22
> 
> The term is not defined or said to be an acronym, but its use is consistent with the use by Samuel Shem and predates it.
> 
> 
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of James Landau [00000c13e57d49b8-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]
> Sent: Friday, December 04, 2020 9:38 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: Gomer Cool (1908-2012)
> 
> 
> ----
> 
> In the novel _The House of God_ by Samuel Shem  (pseudonym of Shephen Bergman) ISBN 0-440-13368-8 first published 1978, "GOMER", meaning a dislikeable hospital patient, is an acronym for "Get Out of My Emergency Room".
> I have no idea if this be common medical slang or an invention by the author only for this particular novel.  My wife, who is an RN with considerable hospital experience, says she never heard "GOMER" outside of this novel.
> 
> James Landau
> jjjrlandau at netscape.com
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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