those hip NYers, 1786

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Dec 3 23:44:38 UTC 2004

>From an advertisement for a horse-racing meeting:

No crossing, jostling, or any kind of foul Play, will be countenanced, which detected, the Rider will be pronounced distanced.
Independent Journal, May 31, 1786, p. 3, col. 2

OED has crossing, vbl n 3b: "The action of crossing the path of another rider so as to obstruct him. Also fig.  1796 Hull Advertiser 23 Apr. 3/3 All the crossings and jostlings which the barrack-master..experienced."  [and a mid-19th C citation]
There is a cross-reference to cross-and-jostle, under cross- B.  "cross-and-jostle, applied to a race in which the riders cross each other's paths and jostle each other, getting to the winning-post as they like, by fair riding or foul; also fig.  1841 GEN. THOMPSON Exerc. (1842) VI. 52 And because there would be no use in two thousand men agreeing to die upon half the food that can keep soul and body together, they either toss up for it or play a *cross-and-jostle match."

I note that both the illustrative quotes from the OED are figurative.  It does not have an early illustration of the literal horse-racing sense.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

"We have seen the best of our time.  Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves."  King Lear, Act 1, scene 2 (Gloucester speaking).

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