Grind House

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Mar 30 20:29:23 UTC 2007

At 3/30/2007 04:16 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>The late, lamented John Lee Hooker's "Grinder Man," is clearly about
>sex - cf. also the traditional BE brag, "They call me 'Coffee' 'cause
>I grin' so fine!"

Actually, they call me "Coffee" because I was born on a particular
day of the week.

>And Muddy Waters once asked in song, "What's the
>matter with the mill? The mill won't grind," i.e. "I'm suffering an
>attack of 'dead bone'," to borrow the felicitous term of the National
>Lampoon. So, I conclude that BE "grind house" and WE "grind house"
>have different origins having nothing to do with each other.

I'm WE, but I certainly heard "grinding" referring to dancing in my
youth.  (A sense not in OED2?  My HDAS is at the library.)  I can't
swear to hearing "grind house", but I would certainly have understood
"burlesque house" as one possible sense if I had.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list