[Ads-l] rhubarb

Bill Mullins amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 22 21:56:02 EST 2021

The OED blog mentions that they are working on M - R, and note that "rhubarb" v (stage actors mumbling "rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb" to simulate the sound of background conversation) has been antedated.

They have 1926 for the noun sense of the word.

1919  _Motion Picture Magazine_ Feb.  37/1
He didn't carry a spear in this dramatic masterpiece, probably because there were no spears to carry, but he did grumble, "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb" off stage to make up the angry mob.


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

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