James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 28 21:00:20 UTC 2002

In a message dated 04/27/2002 9:05:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
dcamp911 at JUNO.COM writes:

> > The OED2 defines "diddle" as "to cheat or swindle, to victimize" and
>  > gives a
>  > citation from Edgar Allan Poe.
>  That must have been back when Thomas Bowdler was editing the OED.

The OED2 has three separate entries for "diddle" as a verb.  Verb 1, which
must be the one you are thinking of,  is "app. a parallel form to
DIDDER...anaogies both of form and sense between didder, dadder, diddle,
daddle" and includes definition 4a "To copulate or have sexual intercourse
(with), esp. with woman as obj."  Verb 2, "app. onomatopaeic" means "to sing
without distinct utterance of words" and has only one citation, from 1706.
(Someone recently commented on "obsolescent words".  This might be one.)
Verb 3, "a recent word, of obscure origin", is the one I used (definition 2a)
because it fit the context and verb 1 sense 3a did not.  Also I had
previously read the Edgar Allan Poe essay which the OED2 cites under verb 3..

I am not aware that Thomas Bowdler had any connection with the Oxford English

    - James A. Landau

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