"Bindlestiff" in Blish

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 11 23:35:31 UTC 2010

Seems unlikely to me, Joel. Would you make that mistake? Of course,
what you would do says nothing about what Blish would do, but you
gnoame sane.


On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 10:42 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Bindlestiff" in Blish
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> <html>
> <body>
> <font size=3>At 1/9/2010 10:46 PM, Baker, John wrote:<br>
> <blockquote type=cite class=cite cite="">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.</font></blockquote><br>
> Might Blish have constructed -- or misunderstood -- a connection with
> "to stiff" = '3. To cheat; to refuse to pay or tip (a
> person)'?<br><br>
> Joel</body>
> </html>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list