"Jazz" is not attested before 1913

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 29 04:39:35 UTC 2001

At 8:49 PM -0600 3/28/01, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>    Once more I've been looking through Jonathon Green's _Cassell's
>Dictionary Of Slang_  (2000), which regards the term "jazz" as being
>used as early as the late 19th century:
>        "jazz n. 1) [late 19th C-1930s ] (orig. US Black) sexual
>     There is in fact no attestation of "jazz" in any sense prior to
>1913. None.
>The only previous one advanced is the 1909 attestation in OED2, but
>that one has been proven to be a mistake.
>---Gerald Cohen

Speaking of out-of-bounds sex--I forgot to mention another wayward
"Big Apple" citing.  This was on the A&E courtroom series "100 Centre
Street" a couple of weeks ago; the embattled liberal night court
judge Joe Rifkind played by Alan Arkin explains to his clerk/factotum
that the source of "Big Apple" is the upscale whorehouse run by
"Eve", whence "Eve's apples", and so on.


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