Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Dec 21 17:30:32 UTC 2006

At 12/21/2006 11:13 AM, you wrote:
>You must not spend a lot of time on Usenet and web forums. Here's an
>example (the first one that came up when I searched google groups):

Thank G-d (as the 18th century would do with S---n), I don't.  But I
was merely trying to connect to the 1640s via the 1800s.

But I had also wondered about "loose [tongued]" rather than "lose",
and sympathize with Beverly Flanigan's supposition:
>I read this differently, as the scorned one feeling he has a looser tongue
>now, as if "allowed" to express his vengeance, i.e., wreake, in prose or
>song.  "Loser-like" just doesn't strike me as Jonsonian.


>Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>And the verb we now spell as "lose" is often spelled "loose" in
>>18th-century writings.
>>At 12/21/2006 10:41 AM, you wrote:
>>>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
>>>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
>>>---- 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
>>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>Alice Faber                                    faber at haskins.yale.edu
>Haskins Laboratories                           tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>New Haven, CT 06511 USA                        fax (203) 865-8963
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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