[Ads-l] Early "Jazz" Citation

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 17 01:14:06 EST 2022


Then what is Burglars' Rest? It sure looks like the name of a place, but is
there any indication of what place it was and why that name?

Mark Mandel

On Sun, Jan 16, 2022, 8:17 PM Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

> PROTEST MEETING AT BURGLARS' REST
> means what it says
> PEEVED YEGGS SCORE LADY COPS
> means "upset safecrackers end up with female police officers"
>
> I think.
>
> On Sun, Jan 16, 2022, 7:53 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > Talk about crash blossoms. Well, actually, is there a term for a headline
> > that isn't liable to *mis*interpretation but  rather to no interpretation
> > at all?  I suppose a century ago the intended readership might have been
> > better prepared than we are today to parse a headline reading
> >
> > PROTEST MEETING AT BURGLARS'
> > REST PEEVED YEGGS SCORE LADY COPS
> >
> > Maybe you had to be there...
> >
> > LH
> >
> > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 7:41 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Terrific find, Fred. Here's the page image:
> > >
> > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/429/mode/1up
> > >
> > > In context, "slab the old jazz" may be akin to "shoot the breeze,"
> "chew
> > > the fat," etc. Or since the preceding paragraph (written a comically
> > ornate
> > > style contrasting with the slang of the quoted passage) is about
> setting
> > > aside an expletive-filled argument, perhaps "slab" is like "slab off"
> > (OED
> > > quoting Bartlett 1859: "throw aside as useless") and it means "put
> aside
> > > the old nonsense" or something like that.
> > >
> > > As we've previously discussed, in June 1913 there were two widely
> > > syndicated articles that presented "the old jazz" as slang from San
> > > Francisco. See e.g. my ADS-L post from June 2007 or Dave Wilton's
> > writeup:
> > >
> > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2007-June/071855.html
> > > https://www.wordorigins.org/big-list-entries/jazz
> > >
> > > While the example from The Scoop doesn't mention San Francisco, I think
> > the
> > > likeliest explanation is that "the old jazz" was inspired by the
> > newspaper
> > > articles about slang that were circulating around the country at the
> > time.
> > > And I don't think "teach the Chinaman his music lesson" is a literal
> > > reference to music but yet another slang idiom (not sure about the
> > > meaning).
> > >
> > > FWIW, the item is signed "Phinney the Eel," which is also the name of a
> > > Chicago underworld character in an Aug. 1913 syndicated piece by Gene
> > > Morgan.
> > >
> > > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/92762265/phinney-the-eel/
> > >
> > > I see there was a reporter for the Chicago Daily News named Gene
> Morgan,
> > so
> > > this piece may have first appeared there. And I'd guess Morgan is also
> > the
> > > author of the item in The Scoop, as his byline appears elsewhere in
> that
> > > issue, e.g.:
> > >
> > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/113/mode/1up
> > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/163/mode/1up
> > > https://archive.org/details/scoop155239pres/page/192/mode/1up
> > >
> > > --bgz
> > >
> > > On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 6:50 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Actually, I think this is the only known citation of "the old jazz"
> in
> > > > that time-period that is not relating to the San Francisco area.  I
> > > should
> > > > also note the obvious point that this citation is from Chicago, which
> > > > appears to be the incubator of "jazz" referring to music.
> > > >
> > > > Fred Shapiro
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ________________________________
> > > > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > > > Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> > > > Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 6:27 PM
> > > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > > > Subject: Early "Jazz" Citation
> > > >
> > > > I often criticize other people for far-fetched etymological theories
> > > based
> > > > on coincidence, and often espouse the theory that if a citation is
> "too
> > > > good to be true," it's doubtless not true.  But I have found an
> > > interesting
> > > > citation and seek help in interpreting it.
> > > >
> > > > 1913 The Scoop (Press Club of Chicago) 13 Sept. 429 (Internet
> Archive)
> > > > And say, Glommer, old peg, let's slab the old jazz.  Some night we'll
> > > meet
> > > > at the clubhouse beaker bazaar.  And then we'll both teach the
> Chinaman
> > > his
> > > > music lesson -- eh, kid?
> > > >
> > > > The earliest known use of "jazz" meaning a type of music was
> discovered
> > > by
> > > > me in a 1915 issue of the Chicago Tribune, a full year or so earlier
> > than
> > > > any other such usage.  I realize that the citation above is probably
> a
> > > > usage of the slang term "the old jazz" that was current in 1913 in
> San
> > > > Francisco and elsewhere, and probably is not referrring specifically
> > to a
> > > > type of music.  But does anyone have any idea as to what a slangy use
> > of
> > > > "slab" as a verb might mean?  And does anyone think this could be a
> > > > reference to music?  The context seems musical, unless "music lesson"
> > is
> > > > some kind of metaphor.  The citation is an item that immediately
> > follows
> > > an
> > > > item about "negro" music.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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