lawyer up antedating 1995-->1990 (UNCLASSIFIED)

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 3 02:45:00 UTC 2010

My impression was--at least from the cites that I got (which, as you
know, were not all from the same period) was that there was a mix of
two meaning early on, then the second one dropped off. in fact, both
the NYPD Blue references (from 1995) use it to express an intent to
retain a lawyer. The 1994 court line and the other 1995 citation
(presumably correct) are both equally ambiguous--it is not clear which
of the two meaning is being used there. So the structure is less like
that of a digraph with one terminal branch, but more of a stem with a
small branch to the side (sorry--using math metaphors usually applied
to evolution).


On Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 10:50 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> Does _lawyer up_ seems have two senses?  The most current one is "to secure
> legal counsel."  An earlier one seems to be, "begin to conduct oneself as
> though a lawyer, as by giving ambiguous or evasive answers."
> Or possibly I just misunderstand the context of some early exx.
> JL

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list