Tue Nov 7 16:40:30 UTC 2000

        From the [New York] Daily News, November 7, 2000, p. 21, col. 4, in
a story reporting on an automobile accident:

        . . . Joe Hunt said he heard a crash and saw Moore's car fly by out
of the corner of his eye.  "He was really booking, you know, going
real fast," Hunt said.

HDAS (I happily follow the lead of Jesse Sheidlower in dropping the
initials of the infamous publishing house formerly associated with
this dictionary) has booking, to go fast, between 1974 and 1984.  The
word is alive and well -- in New York, at least.

I note that in 1969 a California participant in DARE completed the
sentence "Something that is left undecided or unfinished: perhaps we
had better ____" with the words "book it."  Is there a connection
here?  One leaves something unfinished because one is in a hurry to
do something else?  I am also put in mind of a stanza from an old
country blues called "Keys to the Highway".  I've not heard this for
many years, and my very limited blues CD collection doesn't include
it, so I can't refesh my memory.  Are there any blues hounds in our
coven?  I recall the version I knew to have been recorded by Big
Bill Broonzy, probably in the 1930s or 1940s.  In any event, as I
recall, the stanza goes:  "I've got the keys to the highway, I'm
booked up and bound to go, I'm gone to leave here running, cause
walking is most too slow."  Here there is a connection between being
booked up and the desire for speed.

Neither the Dictionary of American English nor Dictionary of
Americanisms has book as a verb.


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