"Living Large"

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 13 01:29:11 UTC 2011

I was going to wait until I finished processing, but it's a fine sieve for
very small needles in a very large stack, so I'll report intermediate

The torch of reason: or, Humanity's god. By Frederick Forrest Berry.
Cincinnati: January 1912 [Copyright 1910, 1911, 1912]
p. 5

> But here was a man--one man--who would not be cut down to fit their pigmy
> habitations. Here was a man living large and broad in spite of want and
> oppression. Their narrow codes and commandments could not encompass him; for
> he loved the music of the living spheres, and the limitations of human
> brotherhood were bounded only by the limitations of the cosmic realm.

A nice date, almost half-way between 1975 and 1834--and not BE dialect.

Table talk in the home. Ed. by Norman E. Richardson. American Institute of
Child Life. 1913
Subjects for Table Talk. p. 19

> This adds a zest to appetite, and where people are living large, full lives
> tends to make their reading and thinking more definite.

Here's another, a bit more ambiguous (part of an NP).

Life and living. By Frederic Wood Jones. 1939

> Moreover, they were all inclined towards living large and open-handed
> lives. John Hunter, we all know, supported a household of over fifty persons
> not counting his numerous pupils.

This certainly doesn't explain the /origin/ of the expression, but it does
explain some uses (living a large life).

At the other end, this one is tagged 1974 by GB, but I am not even sure this
is the right volume:


> For Rodgers was an aristocrat and he liked to see his young proteges living
> largeso long as they did their work.

I am listing it tentatively, but I suspect another GB screw-up.

This represents the entire relevant selection from the first 300 of about
1000 raw ghits in GB. I only tried the direct pair, but there are,
obviously, several variations.


On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 9:06 PM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>wrote:

> Jonathan Lighter's invaluable reference Random House Historical
> Dictionary of American Slang has "live large" under the entry for
> "large" on page 399 of volume 2. The first cite is the one in 1975
> given in a previous message. JL indicates the phrase was a "motto of
> The Executioner, crime-fighting hero of a popular action-adventure
> series by Don Pendleton, published [1969-.]"

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

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