BE "front off"

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Jun 21 21:00:17 UTC 2004

HDAS defines "front v. 2." as "to act as a front (for someone)" and
goes on to note: "3. Esp. Black E. a. to put up a front of self
assurance; put up a bluff, esp. as part of a confidence game. - also
constr. with off."

In construction with "off," i.e. "to front (someone) off," it also
means "to cause to act as a front or to use as a front (for someone)."
e.g.:  "What you mean, slammin' the door in my face?! You don't own the
place! The white man own the place! He just frontin' your black ass
off!" This is from the 1971 LP, "Craps," by Richard Pryor on the Found
Money label.

In Saint Louis in the 'Fifties, "front (someone) off" meant "to best
someone in the game of insult-swapping" known as "jawing with
(someone)," "joning with (someone)," or "playing the dozens."

-Wilson Gray

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