Tue Sep 25 19:04:40 UTC 2007

        Used similarly on page 249 of J.W. Scott, Jack Hardin's
Rendering of the Arabian Nights (1903) (Google Books full text), a
slangy retelling of some of the stories from the Arabian Nights:  "He
doctored at Carlsbad and everywhere, and had all kinds of doctors, and
they all gave him up.  The Christian Scientists and the Faith Cure push
and everybody else took a whiz at him; but they couldn't touch him, and
they all quit him cold and pulled their freight for home."

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Benjamin Zimmer
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: Whiz

On 9/25/07, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> Google Books seems to show "take a whiz" from 1925--Benjamin De
> Casseres, _Mirrors of New York_:  "There was a cellar, however, three
> blocks up the avenue where a gentleman could take a whiz at the wheel.

> No, we couldn't do anything with the wheel today."  Although it's
> attractive to envision a small waterwheel installed inside a urinal
> for the recreation of well hydrated whizzers, I assume the reference
is to some other activity.

Presumably along the lines of "take a whirl/whack/crack/stab at".

--Ben Zimmer

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

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

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