[Ads-l] meet cute

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 25 00:36:04 EST 2022


Coincidentally, I just came across an example of "meeting cute" from 1943.

---
https://archive.org/details/solittletime00marq/page/287/mode/1up
_So Little Time_ by John P. Marquand (1943), pp. 287-8
"Perhaps they don't meet cute enough," Mae said.
You could not get away from studio jargon. "Meeting cute" meant roughly
that our hero did something like stepping on a banana peel, losing his
balance and sliding on his behind up to the girl, though of course there
were infinite variations.
---

On Tue, Jan 25, 2022 at 12:07 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> Great work, Ben.
> Here is a closely related form "meeting cute" in 1947. I guess it was
> superseded by "meet cute".
>
> Date: March 13, 1947
> Newspaper: Daily News
> Newspaper Location: New York, New York
> Article: Film Actor Changes His Mind On Marriage—for Buff Cobb
> Author: Nancy Randolph
> Quote Page 20, Column 3
> Database: ProQuest
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> She was 21, Bautzer, a well-known Hollywood lawyer was 31, and it had
> been love at first sight just like "meeting cute" in a film story. And
> wartime too.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> 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.)
> > >
>

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