[Ads-l] pull(ing) (off) a PN (Ty Cobb) stunt

James Eric Lawson jel at NVENTURE.COM
Wed Feb 10 21:31:23 EST 2021


My nomination for the start is 'hector', probably the intransitive verb,
"To play the hector or bully; to brag, bluster, domineer. Also, to
hector it." OED. It started in the 17th century; maybe with the noun, as
used in The Merry Wives of Windsor: "Said I well, bully Hector?" I doubt
anybody (except perhaps me) would say "pull a Hector", though.

On 2/10/21 10:36 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> Wasn't this all started with the phrase "do a Brodie", referring to the guy
> who claimed to have successfully jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge?
> 
> On Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 3:48 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> 
>> Thanks, Bill. My interests include some uses of "pull(ing)," and yes PN  =
>> personal name here.
>>
>> a) On "pull a PN stunt," or "pull a PN" (without the word "stunt") I'm
>> interested in the origin and evolution. For example, some have used to
>> "pull a Lewinsky." The name being characteristic of some action. Ty Cobb
>> was a versatile player (with characteristic moves?). Was there an earlier
>> person who sparked the phrase?
>>
>> b) On "pull someone's leg," I suppose it has not yet been fully explained.
>> Thanks, James Eric, but (pace) I currently do think it came from mariner
>> use, and I don't think it came from execution by hanging, which is so
>> remote from (OED's) "to deceive a person humorously or playfully; to tease
>> a person."
>>
>> Stephen
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
>> MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY DEVCOM AVMC (USA) <
>> 0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 6:06 PM
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Subject: Re: pull(ing) (off) a PN (Ty Cobb) stunt
>>
>>
>> 15 Mar 1901 Baltimore Sun p 7 col 3
>> "For the 29 Archers to practice a William Tell stunt there are 8 apples,
>> and in case any of their engines of war are broken in stretching the long
>> stave too far there are a couple of bows in the Directory who can be used
>> in an emergency."
>>
>> 03 Jan 1907 Washington DC Evening Star p 16 col 1
>> "Will Try the Houdini Stunt" [headline]
>>
>> Are you interested only in forms "[PN] stunt"?  (I assume that is
>> "Personal Name") Or the broader use of a person's name to refer to a
>> specific action?
>>
>>
>> 20 Jul 1901 Butte MT Daily Post p 6 col 3
>> "With a splash and a gurgle, the disciple of Bachus did a sudden "Brodie"
>> into the murky element  . . ."
>>   [Steve Brodie supposedly jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886]
>>
>>
>>
>> [14 Jun 1909] ....Cruikshank pulled off a Ty Cobb stunt. The first man up
>> in the ninth hit a short fly to right, Cruikshank rushed in in time to grab
>> the ball and throw the runner out at first. The Courier, Waterloo Iowa 2/5]
>>
>> Lots of later (and maybe earlier) "Ty Cobb stunt" usages.
>>
>> Was Ty Cobb the earliest PN for such trademark stunts?
>>
>> Stephen
>>
>>
>>
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> 
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-- 
James Eric Lawson

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