Heard on The Judges: _kickback_, n: new meaning

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 16 15:05:20 UTC 2010

The n. is new to me. The v., of course, meaning "relax" has been a big deal
in the general vocabulary since I was in college.

Rather than straight from the verb, I bet the new sense comes from a combo
of the v. and the existing nominal sense.

Just pointing out that even "obvious" etys. may not be entirely obvious.
Forty years seems like a long time to wait, especially in the communications
age, for a simple functional shift to get going.

Of course why there should have been no clearly "obvious"functional shift
(assuming there wasn't) then becomes one of those nifty Mysteries of


On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 2:29 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Heard on The Judges: _kickback_, n: new meaning
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson, the noun is in urbandictionary, described
> as "small gathering between group of friends,
> more than a get together, less than a party (used
> in nor-cal central valley)".  And I've associated
> "kick back", verb or imperative, with "relax" for quite a while.
> Neither is defined in the OED, although it has
> two quotations for the verb with this sense, 1988 and 2006.  The 1988 is
> "Muscular Devel. Nov. 33/1 After his shows, Mits
> always throws a mixer where workers, guest
> posers, contestants and Mits himself can kick back and relax."
> Joel
> At 1/15/2010 11:50 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >Twenty-ish, black male speaker:
> >
> >I was going to a _kickback_ ...
> >
> >Judge:
> >
> >A what?
> >
> >Speaker. A _kickback_. Anyway ...
> >
> >Judge:
> >
> >What's a "_kickback_"?
> >
> >Speaker:
> >
> >It's, uh, like a family get-together. In the backyard. You have some
> >bobby-q (an actual spelling used on?/in? a neon sign in Sth-Cent.
> >L.A., more likely joking than real; helped me to catch the pun in the
> >cookbook title, Barbecuing With Bobby), some brew, a little taste (=
> >"hard liquor") ...
> >
> >
> >BTW, this guy's speech, though otherwise typically working-class BE,
> >was fully r-ful. He actually said "barbecue" and not the "bobbih-cue"
> >of the last century.
> >
> >--
> >-Wilson
> >­­­
> >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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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