Early Use of S.O.L.

Sun Nov 30 23:48:30 UTC 2008

        I don't know how old "S.O.L." is, but this must be one of the
earliest uses.  In AWOL - All Wrong Old Laddiebuck, a cautionary cartoon
for World War I servicemen eager to go home after the Armistice, the
protagonist serviceman is riding with Miss AWOL when her car has a flat.
He attempts to pump the tire back up but overdoes it, causing a blowout
that knocks him down and causes him to see stars, which resolve
themselves into the letters S.O.L. (periods included).

        The cartoon is included in the Library of Congress's Origins of
American Animation collection,
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/oahtml/oapres.html.  The notes indicate that
it is ca. 1919, which seems right for a film directed at servicemen in
the post-Armistice period.

John Baker

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

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