Quick meaning alive

Alison Murie sagehen7470 at ATT.NET
Sat Jan 2 16:59:56 UTC 2010

On Jan 2, 2010, at 2:35 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Quick meaning alive
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> FWIW, I've been doing some googling on the subject for the past week,
> but, for some reason, can't settle on the final wording of the post.
> So,
> here's a summary. The bottom line is that until about 1830 exclusively
> and until 1890s dominantly this was a purely biblical/liturgical line
> from KJV and earlier translations, Apostles' and Nicene Creed and
> from a
> number of liturgies (more complete line would be "to judge the quick
> and
> the dead", which appears in at least three places in the New
> Testament).
> Modern translations ALL have "living" for "quick". The earliest
> non-biblical catch was in the 1830 congressional record. The earliest
> appearance of the pedestrian joke I traced to 1906--but UK, not US--
> but
> it is also clearly a secondary source. Perhaps a search of British
> newspapers circa 1896-1905 will give an earlier hit. Could not find
> the
> original of the military version--although it clearly precedes WWII
> and,
> likely, WWI (and is also likely British in origin). There is an 1890
> Punch cartoon on the Barttelot/Jameson affair that may or may not be
> utilizing the same pun. The phrase was a VERY popular title of both
> novels and chapters in novels (as well as some nonfiction) in the
> 1880s
> through 1910s. All trite stuff, except for the 1906 citation.
> Will post the final copy over the weekend.
>     VS-)
> On 1/2/2010 2:11 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> Tonight, I asked two West Coasters in their mid-40s if they
>> understood the LA joke. Both said they did, but on further
>> questioning, neither understood that "quick" means "alive." Once
>> they knew that, one commented that there was a movie
>> ("Quickening ??" or "Quickened ??") whose title then made sense.
>> AFAIK, this meaning is now restricted to "the quick and the dead."
>> Since there is no other usage to inform people of the meaning
>> "alive," this expression can propagate itself only through explicit
>> education (in an educational setting or a book). It therefore seems
>> appropriate to refer to this as being a moribund expression.
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> Seattle, WA
What is the cut-off point for "archaic?"  I find it a little
disconcerting that expressions current during my lifetime can be
considered archaic.  Anyway, back to the "quick" thread: "quickening"
was still alive & well as the term for the moment a pregnant woman
begins to feel the movements of the fetus within her, as recently as
the late '50s. Is there now another term for this? (The New Oxford
American Dictionary says "quickening" in this sense is "archaic.")

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