HDAS: another undocumented/undocumentable antedating

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 25 23:54:40 UTC 2010

Thanks, Wilson. AAVE slang (as distinct from "jazz" slang) is rather poorly
documented before ca1970.  Pure accident? I think not.


On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 6:03 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      HDAS: another undocumented/undocumentable antedating
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> While thinking about old, hamburger slang from my Army years, I
> recalled _get hat_ = "leave (out)." Sure enough, it's in HDAS,
> referred to _hat_, where the phrases, get hat, get a hat, grab hat,
> grab a hat, are cited. Since my experience is restricted to the use of
> "get hat," I'll stick to that. HDAS has 1966. I first heard it used by
> hamburgers in Germany in January, 1961. That is, almost as soon as I
> had deplaned - excuse me, "_off-loaded_ the [MATS] aircraft" - (I was
> almost as stunned by this, used in the Air Force but not in the Army
> at that time, as Greg was by "git _you_ a tray") at Rhein-Main AFB.
> IAC, "get hat" was already approaching the end of its shelf life then.
> By March, 1961, "hat up" had replaced it, to the extent that, by
> November, 1961, I was hearing "hat up" used by the Amsterdammers who
> hung with us hamburgers. Surprisingly, they - the Dutch - even used
> _knock yourself out_ = "help yourself," in my lifetime, never any more
> common than straight "help yourself." For some reason that was never
> clear to me, it was the custom never to teach any "indigenous
> personnel/human resources" either any slang or any dances. If they
> learned either through their own efforts, fine. "Hat up" was used
> everywhere all the time. Hence, I expected that the Dutch would
> eventually become hip to it. But, "knock yourself out" was so rare
> that I was shocked to hear it used by a member of the out-group.
> -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
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