"Jazz" and invitation

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Mar 29 16:27:01 UTC 2001

Dear Jonathon Green,

    I would welcome an exchange of information with you.  My e-mail
address is given just above.

    Might I also suggest that there are many other people in the
American Dialect Society who are interested in slang and that they
too would welcome an exchange of ideas with you. Why not sign up for
the American Dialect Society  e-mail messages? Our group thrives on
the input of many scholars and educated laymen, and what one person
doesn't know may be known by someone else.

    BTW, I have a few extra copies of a recent working paper I
compiled entitled "Jazz Revisited; On The Origin Of The Term" (72pp.;
with due credit given throughout the article). Particular credit goes
to Peter Tamony, Dick Holbrook, Barry Popik, and, of course, to the
1913 sportswriters of the _San Francisco Bulletin_. If you send me
your snail-mail address, I'll be happy to send you a complimentary

    Meanwhile, come on in. The water's fine.

---Gerald Cohen

>Date:         Thu, 29 Mar 2001 11:00:16
>From: Jonathon Green <slang at crayford.demon.co.uk>
>Subject:      Re: "Jazz" is not attested before 1913
>I have been forwarded Gerald Cohen's dismissal of the 'late 19C+' dating for
>'jazz', meaning sexual intercourse. As a long-time admirer of his researches
>into slang I bow unreservedly to Mr. Cohen's superior knowledge as regards
>the term. I shall amend my date accordingly. The second edition, however,
>may be a few years down the line. I would be the first to acknowledge the
>problem of dating slang - one that I would suggest transcends even that of
>its etymology. As regards 'jazz', I think that I may, perhaps mistakenly,
>have been 'reverse engineering' from various references - e.g. 1927 Journal
>of Abnormal & Social Psychology; 1959 The Jazz Scene (Francis Newton) -
>which state that the term had been long used by African Americans as a
>synon. for sex and as such was a precursor of the musical use. Given the
>earliest 'musical' citations are in 1910s, it seemed arguable to predate as
>I did. That of course still doesn't offer a late 19C citation - I stand
>Researching my current work, a properly cited and expanded version of that
>dictionary to which Mr Cohen refers, and currently entitled The Cassell
>Historical Dict. of Slang (3 vols., scheduled for 2005) I am constantly
>discovering earlier dating of slang usage. This is hardly a boast (although
>the chance to improve one's work is always welcome) but my only excuse is
>that as a maker of large dictionaries I have to bow to certain pressures
>that would not attain to Mr Cohen's more focussed, 'pointilliste'
>Jonathon Green
>PS. I would be grateful for Gerald Cohen's email address for further

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