Whiz & names

Paul paulzjoh at MTNHOME.COM
Tue Sep 25 21:59:47 UTC 2007

I'm 72, grew up in Chicago and remember several women of my mother's
generation, nicknamed Whiz.  Two of them were small time entertainers
from the '20s. one a dancer and the other was something like the
magician's assistant.  Both had great legs at least to my 10 year all
believing eyes.

Wilson Gray wrote:
> I don't recall The Whiz Kids" as a game show. Wasn't it more like a
> "Look-how smart-these-children-are!-Ask-them-any-question-and-they-can-answer-it!-Aren't-they-amazing?!-They-can't-be-stumped!"
> kind of show that went back to radio days? The TV main Kid, Joel
> Kupperman (or "Kupferman" or something similar? Back in those days, I
> wasn't hip to, uh, I didn't know from Jewish names; I didn't even know
> that the legendary Arnold Stang was Jewish.) looked like a buddy of
> mine who was physically white but racially black.
> -Wilson
> On 9/25/07, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: Whiz
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> At 2:25 PM -0400 9/25/07, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>> 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".
>> And by the late 40s and early 50s, when "the whiz kids" was a
>> standard locution not only for the group that came to Ford after WWII
>> (including Robert F. Macnamara, for the term eventually turned
>> ironic) but for other groups of wunderkinder, including the
>> pennant-winning 1950 Phillies or TV game show contestants, I don't
>> think there was any snickering about any possible micturitional
>> double meaning.
>> LH
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -----
>                                               -Sam'l Clemens
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

You have to mutate the mutanda

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list