[Ads-l] meet cute

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 24 23:40:42 EST 2022


I'd call it an attributive noun within a nominal compound.  Fails the
adjective tests:
#That dialogue seems meet-cute
?How meet-cute was the dialogue?
But it beats the earlier record for "meet-cute", n.
And once again, it seems to assume familiarity with the term, so it can
probably be bested (though not by me).

LH

On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 11:21 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Here's an adjectival (or is it attributive?) usage from 1950.
>
> ---
> "But Is It Gold?" by Robert Fontaine
> Hollywood Reporter, Dec. 29, 1950, p. 190, col. 1 [ProQuest]
> I say I worked for Columbia. Actually Columbia worked for ME. I was hired,
> if the word isn't too slovenly, to pep up -- their phrase -- a script. They
> wanted some gay young man to put some meet-cute dialogue into a film and
> they picked on me.
> ---
>
> On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 8:39 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Yes, the noun sense is interesting. I briefly looked for an instance
> > before posting, but was unable to improve upon Ben's 1952 citation
> > which is currently listed in the OED. The query string "meet cute"
> > yields an enormous number of false matches in newspapers.com. So you
> > have to adopt a strategy to prune the matches.
> >
> > GenealogyBank is better. It has fewer false matches, but it is a
> > smaller database, and I did not find anything pertinent before 1952.
> > Perhaps another searcher will find something.
> > Garson
> >
> > On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 8:21 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > The 1952 cite is one that I shared to the list back in 2005 (and then
> > again
> > > in 2019). Haven't hunted for the noun more recently.
> > >
> > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-December/056054.html
> > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2019-February/154166.html
> > >
> > > On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 7:55 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Yes, but what's really interesting is the noun, mentioned in passing
> by
> > > > Barry:  a meet-cute.  None of the early cites involve the noun, and
> it
> > > > would be interesting to know when that first appeared in print. The
> OED
> > > > provides this gloss and first cite, but it seems like the 1952 cite
> > from
> > > > the NYTBR presupposes readers' familiarity with the term (in its
> > nominal
> > > > form).
> > > >
> > > > OED, s.v. meet-cute, n.
> > > >
> > > > Chiefly with reference to films, novels, etc.: an amusing or charming
> > first
> > > > encounter between two people that leads to the development of a
> > romantic
> > > > relationship between them.
> > > > 1952   *N.Y. Times Bk. Rev.* 12 Oct. 24/2   This may well be, in
> > magazine
> > > > parlance, the neatest meet-cute of the week—the story of a
> > ghost-writer who
> > > > falls in love with a ghost.
> > > >
> > > > LH
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 7:14 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > > > adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > A thread about "meet cute" occurred in February 2019. I posted the
> > May
> > > > > 22, 1937 citation for the verb form in "The New Yorker".
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> >
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2019-February/154161.html
> > > > >
> > > > > Ben Zimmer pointed out that Barry Popik had already shared the cite
> > on
> > > > > his Big Apple website:
> > > > >
> > > > > “Meet cute” (romantic comedy rule)
> > > > >
> https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/meet_cute/
> > > > >
> > > > > Garson
> > > > >
> > > > > On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 7:31 AM Stephen Goranson <
> goranson at duke.edu>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > OED's word of the day has meet-cute, n. from 1952; to meet cute,
> v.
> > > > from
> > > > > 1941, "as they say in story conferences."
> > > > > >
> > > > > > "They Meet Cute," New Yorker story title, by Alan Campbell.
> > (Incipit:
> > > > > "The rest of the script is fine, boys....") May 22, 1937, p. 37,
> c.1.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > (I don't have Variety archives online.)
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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