[Ads-l] Early "Jazz" Citation

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 17 18:37:41 EST 2022


About 1980 I knew a guy who often answered the phone with, "City morgue.
You kill 'em, we chill 'em," or, more to the point here, "City morgue. You
stab 'em, we slab 'em."

Many, many Google hits for both.

JL

On Mon, Jan 17, 2022 at 5:06 PM Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

> Burglars Rest brought to my mind the traditional Smugglers Rest common in
> British coastal towns.
>
> I had forgotten the negative definition of "score".
>
> On Mon, Jan 17, 2022, 4:13 PM Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > The meaning of the two lines seems clear.  "Burglars' Rest" is the name
> of
> > the place, seemingly
> > inspired by the name "Buzzard's Roost" (and in this vein cf. "Guzzler's
> > Gulch").
> > "Score" in the second line has the meaning "scold, berate".   So the
> > second line
> > says that the yeggs who were peeved berated the lady cops.
> >
> > Gerald Cohen
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Dan
> > Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 7:16 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Subject: Re: Early "Jazz" Citation
> >
> >
> > 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://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Farchive.org%2Fdetails%2Fscoop155239pres%2Fpage%2F429%2Fmode%2F1up&data=04%7C01%7Cgcohen%40MST.EDU%7C7a2a3c82162a4284117108d9d9571388%7Ce3fefdbef7e9401ba51a355e01b05a89%7C0%7C0%7C637779791792880371%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=He4B8RF8gzWMaSTE2qJiLGaoJ0gtZBSL9LL2eWfiCwE%3D&reserved=0
> > > >
> > > > 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:
> > > >
> > > >
> >
> https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flistserv.linguistlist.org%2Fpipermail%2Fads-l%2F2007-June%2F071855.html&data=04%7C01%7Cgcohen%40MST.EDU%7C7a2a3c82162a4284117108d9d9571388%7Ce3fefdbef7e9401ba51a355e01b05a89%7C0%7C0%7C637779791792880371%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=%2FkHZz4UaEpRirFsNe43lpNiijpx1xSnjbX2GF6dQ8Ao%3D&reserved=0
> > > >
> >
> https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wordorigins.org%2Fbig-list-entries%2Fjazz&data=04%7C01%7Cgcohen%40MST.EDU%7C7a2a3c82162a4284117108d9d9571388%7Ce3fefdbef7e9401ba51a355e01b05a89%7C0%7C0%7C637779791792880371%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=APjViVyDH5%2F9gMRqCR87gxfv7B%2Bfm8EMrpdO3vuFyts%3D&reserved=0
> > > >
> > > > 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.
> > > >
> > > >
> >
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> > > >
> > > > 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.:
> > > >
> > > >
> >
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> > > >
> >
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> > > >
> >
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> > > >
> > > > --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 -
> >
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