Guido x 2

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 27 14:28:16 UTC 2010

Wilson's is correct, as is so often the case.  The OED editors need to do
some serious tweaking.

However, there's another relevant term that hasn't been mentioned: _bully_.
OED needs to tweak this too, but it is essentially synonymous with the
modern sense of _pimp_:

"The ‘gallant’ or protector of a prostitute; one who lives by protecting
prostitutes....1706 Defoe...."

"Protect" is glaringly ill-chosen as the defining behavior (though it is not
as totally insane as "gallant" sounds today).  _Bully_, BTW, had previously
meant something like "boyfriend" - at a time when only women without male
relatives had "boyfriends."  Its current sense as a hectoring fellow is
dated only to 1688 (a hired thug comes a few years later), so it is not
possible to be absolutley certain which sense really rose first. I
suspect all three spread like ripples and weren't clearly separable before
ca 1700. Which makes it likely, historically as well as logically, that the
"pimp" sense of _bully_ really is older. ("Boyfriend (of unprotected woman)"
> "pimp" > modern "bully" > "hired thug" (archaic except in _bully-boy_).

"Pimp" as a simple synonym for "pander" may be on the wane. My guess is that
pimps actually did active "pandering" in the English Renaissance, since men
who could most afford the company of prostitutes may have been less inclined
to visit their haunts (for one thing, why bother ?).  Also, among the
wealthy, paid "mistresses"  may have depended on a male go-between to
introduce them to their sugar-daddies. An expert on 16-17th C. social mores
would know more about this than I do, however.

_Pimp_ (1600) is a much later word than _pander_ (1450). In the Middle Ages,
"pander" presumably applied to all possibilities.

Just as I was about to post, I checked the 2009 revision of the OED, which
is still woefully naive:

"Originally: a person who arranges opportunities for (illicit) sexual
intercourse; a procurer. Now: a man who takes a proportion of the earnings
of a prostitute, usually in return for arranging clients, providing
protection, etc."


On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 8:24 AM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Guido x 2
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> And how about that casual use of the word "greaser"? Has it been
> reclamated? In Texas in the 1950s, the g-word (applied to Chicanos and
> Mexicans) was just short of the n-word in its degree of derogatoriness.
> --Charlie
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 14:20:29 -0500
> >From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of
> Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>)
> >Subject: Guido x 2
> >
> >===============
> >As New York State Senator Diane J. Savino, a Democrat who represents
> Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, explained, "Guido was never a
> pejorative." It grew out of the 1950s greaser look, she said, and became a
> way for Italian-Americans who did not fit the larger culture's definition of
> beauty to take pride in their own heritage and define "cool" for themselves.
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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