Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 18 21:51:30 UTC 2005

Hendrik (Henk) van Riemsdijk, in a remark made in a linguistics class back
in the '70, has pointed out that the American phraseology was originally
"(have) a hard on," with "a hard on" re-analysed as "(have) a hard-on,"
sometimes spelled "hardon" in umliterature.

The standard BE usages are - or were, back in the day, at least - "on hard"
and "on the bone." Oddly enough, though "on the bone" is traditional - i.e.
was already old when I was in elementary school in the '40's, expression - I
didn't hear "boner" till 1969 and, even then, I heard it from a white guy.
Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to ask whether he was familiar with "on
the bone."

Spike Lee's joint, _School Daze_, introduced me to "bone" as a verb and the
term, "bone room."
-Wilson Gray

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