Bob Haas highbob at MINDSPRING.COM
Tue Nov 7 17:29:21 UTC 2000

I've heard and used this for years in NC.  I've no idea where I got it, and
I've no idea of its origins.  All I know is, I've got to go vote, so I
better get bookin'.


> Organization: NYU Libraries
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 11:40:30 EST
> Subject: booking
> 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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