"Gen up"

Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at NYU.EDU
Thu Mar 1 16:13:13 UTC 2001

At 10:39 AM 3/1/2001 EST, "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM> wrote:
>In a message dated 3/1/01 10:04:58 AM Eastern Standard Time,
>Heaberlin at SWT.EDU writes:
><< On NPR news this morning, I heard the reporter say something like "Bush is
> trying to "gen up" support for his tax cut." I had never before heard that
> expression. Is it familiar to the rest of you? >>
>I am not familiar with "gin up".

Though I'm sure other searches would produce far more and earlier results (I
don't have DARE where I am today), a quick LEXIS/NEXIS search for the string
"gin up" in major newspapers for all available dates retrieves 59 hits, the
most recent being 8 Jan. 2001 in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, about
the possibility that the Georgia Assembly will "gin up the courage to find
some new approaches...."

I've heard and read "gin up" for some time. Not sure how far back it goes,
but it wouldn't surprise me if it's related to OED2 gin v.2., meaning 2b:

b. U.S. slang. to gin her up: to work things up, to make things `hum', to
work hard.
1887 F. Francis Jr. Saddle & Mocassin vii. 124 The Apaches were out to beat
hell..And they were ginning her up, and making things a bit lively, that's a

Meaning 2b derives from the idea of making a cotton gin or other
(en)gin(e)/machine work hard to manufacture some product.

Hope this helps some --

Greg Downing, at greg.downing at nyu.edu or gd2 at nyu.edu

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