Sun Jan 10 03:46:16 UTC 2010

IIRC, Blish asserted that a "bindlestiff" is a hobo who steals other hobos' bindles (the bundle containing their possessions, shown in cartoons as hanging from the end of a stick).  By extension, he used "bindlestiff" as a critical term for flying cities that rob other flying cities.  I don't know of any support for the hobo-thief meaning, though.  Other sources, including those quoted in the OED, seem to use "bindlestiff" simply to mean a hobo who carries a bindle.
John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Robin Hamilton
Sent: Thu 1/7/2010 8:12 PM
Subject: Re: "Bindle"

> "Bindlestiff" was also the
> title of a coverstory by James Blish, in Astounding(?) SF in the late
> '40's or early '50's.
> --
> -Wilson

I must have come across this when it was reprinted as part of the third of
what became the Cities in Flight series -- _Earthman, Come Home_ (1955).
"Bindlestiff" was used to refer to a particular kind of flying city, as I
remember it.  The whole series drew on a range of background reference to
American workers' movements.

Robin Hamilton

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

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

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