Don't let's

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 15 16:12:23 UTC 2008

Will Salmon asked about "don't let's" and added:
>Here's my favorite web example, apparently from an 1894 publication of
>the English Dialect Society.
>Don't let's go trolly-mogging about any longer.

Grant Barrett wrote:

> Sure, it's grammatical, but just old-fashioned.

Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:

> This is weird.  It seems quite natural for me (NYC/Long Island, b.
> 1945), although definitely colloquial.  "Don't let's argue about it"
> for example is an informal variant of "Let's not argue about it".
> Trolly-mogging, on the other hand,...
> LH
> P.S.  On the other hand, in the context of "Let's not and say we did"
> I can't imagine getting "Don't let's and say we did".
I read Grant's comment first and agreed. Then I read Larry's and recognized
more about my own background for the usage. I associate it with my
grandmother, born 1890 NYC. I don't use it myself AFAIK. I think I would
notice it if I heard it, but not star it. I guess my judgement is
"grammatical, but old-fashioned colloquial".

"Trolly-mogging" sounds like "lollygagging", here in the sense "dawdle,
dally", but OED has only "trolly-mog" as a noun, under trolly, n.2, with
only UK cites:

> dial.    = TROLLOP n. 1. Also comb. in trolly-mog, trollimog [cf. MOGGY 2]
> in the same sense.

Will, you may have uncovered a new sense for the OED. Are you listening,

m a m

The American Dialect Society -

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