_Splib_ redux

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 14 06:36:10 UTC 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:

> In fact, Simmons also says, "They started calling him Splib because he
> stayed laid [i.e., high] all the time."

Was it really Herb (name-drop: a frat-brother of mine) who defined
_laid_ as "high"? Because, as any fool of the appropriate,
pre-desegregation age-group from Saint Louis will tell  you, _stayed
laid_ means "was never seen ion the set other than as
sharp[ly-dressed]," with no relationship to any kind of
narco-trafficking or sexual activity at all. Indeed, I recall that
this was mentioned in an earlier discussion here that included that
fact that, back in the day, "lay"/"get laid," in the sexual sense (of
course, a stud who got laid in the old StL-BE sense was usually at
least hoping to get laid in the contemporary general, sexual sense),
was - and pretty much still is - restricted to WE and _*get laid*_
was, at that time, used only in reference to women and in the caption
of a ubiquitous cartoon in which some kind of newly-hatched fowl - a
duck? - says, "I just got laid," which is utter nonsense. No
freshly-laid egg hatches on the spot.

Larry revealed that he was the author, under a synonym, of a
well-known, 1971 paper in semantics in which he pointed out that a
sentence like

1) Mary fucked John

had no literal semantic reading, only a metaphorical one like unto that in BE by

2) Mary fucked over John.

At the time that Larry's paper was published, a sentence like (1) was
so unusual as to border on the ridiculous. People - well, guys - were
subject to burst into laughter.

A friend at UC Davis once bragged that she was so hip that hearing the
word "fuck" uttered in her presence was no parts of a problem. Unless
it was used literally, of course:

" 'He fucked her.' Ugh!!!"

Even though this was as recent - for some of us - as the '70's, there
were still, in those days, "coarse" words that no gentleman would
utter in the presence of a lady, even in hippie-time California.

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.
–Mark Twain

Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

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

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