Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Dec 21 15:41:03 UTC 2006

In the third poem of Ben Jonson's "Celebration of Charis in Ten Lyrick Pieces" (posthumously published in 1640), the persona--scorned by the lady and struck helpless by Cupid's arrow--exclaims, "Looser-like, now, all my wreake / Is, that I have leave to speake, / And in either Prose, or Song, /
To revenge me with my Tongue." Some editors alter the spelling of "looser-like" to "loser-like." One glosses "looser-like" as "like a loser."

It seems to me that Jonson's use of "lo(o)ser" approaches the sense that's being discussed here: OED, 2e, "an unsuccessful or incompetent person, a failure." The persona is unsuccessful, incompetent, a failure as a lover; his only talent lies in wielding words.  We all know that type of loser (many of us ARE that type of loser!).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 18:28:23 -0600
>From: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
>Subject: Re: incongruity was Re: Judas H. Priest
>OED has 1955 for this particular sense of "loser".
>"LET'S TALK IT OVER!" [advice column] Alma Whitaker, Los Angeles Times; Mar 5, 1939; pg. D6 col 1:

>"People have to be taught music from earliest youth . . .  I feel frightfully sorry for such a loser!"
>> Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
>> Subject:      incongruity was Re: Judas H. Priest
>> --------------------------------------------------------------
>> On incongruity, I noticed "loser" used in "Santa Claus Is
>> Coming to Town" (1970 if I read the Roman numeral date
>> correctly". The Winter Warlock says -- "I still had some
>> magic in me. I guess I'm not a loser after all."
>> I know that I've seen this year after year, but that's the
>> first time I noticed "loser."
>> ---Amy West

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