antedating tit (and other things) (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 6 22:28:26 UTC 2012

Thanks, Bill.

The pre-1904 "tits," believe it or not, are horses.

Interestingly enough, the usual word in off-color 18th and 19th C.
publications is "bubs," modern "boobs." The vast majority of these,
however, are British.

The earliest ex. I found:

1862 in J. A. Frank & G. A. Reaves _Seeing the Elephant_ (N.Y.: Greenwood,
1989) 42: _Sow belly_ fat bacon with tits on it as long as your

Your 1904 likewise appears to refer to a sow.


On Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC <
Bill.Mullins at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
> Subject:      antedating tit (and other things) (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> All of these cites are from HathiTrust
> OED has "tit" (=mammary gland) only back to 1928 (although it has "teat"
> almost a millennium before that).
> I. [Isaac] Pocock _Yes or No?  A Musical Farce, in Two Acts_ London:  J.
> Barker, 1809
> p. 37
> "With spirits gay I mount the box, the tits up to their traces,
> My elbows squar'd, my wrist turn'd down, dash off to Epsom races."
> _American Railroad Journal, and Advocate of Internal Improvements_ vol 2
> #3, Jun 8, 1833 p. 362 col 2
> "By the way, there were then in France a number of what was termed
> voitures de chasse, hunting carriages, very fancifully constructed,
> resembling our caravans, and having sometimes a stag's head and fore
> quarters in front; over which a coachman, all gold or silver lace, and
> his hair highly dressed, used to take his seat, driving either
> four-in-hand, the horses all too far from their work, the leaders with
> very long traces, seldom tight, (for these dressy coachmen did not know
> now to keep the tits up to their traces,) or with four horses, the
> leaders having a postillion with cocked hat and jack boots."
> Marion Hughes _[Three years in Arkansaw]_ Chicago:  M. A. Donohue & Co.,
> 1904.
> p. 72 "Instead of the stovepipe being in her way it served as a corset,
> and held her tits up out of the way, and she was out of sight in the
> woods before you could say suey!"
> "tango uniform" [= TU in military alphabet, acronym for "tits up"]  [not
> it OED]
> _Approach_ Jul 1977 p 27 col 1
> "The Gremlin that made 303's TACAN go "Tango-Uniform" must have held
> enroute because, a few minutes later, the azimuth and DME in 305 also
> failed!"
> _Combat Crew_ vol 30 no 5, May 1980 p 16 col 1
> "If the pilot can reliably make the entry, the navs can fix a radar set
> that just went tango uniform (totally unusable)."
> _Approach_ vol 35 no 9 Mar 1990, p. 15 col 2
> "However, his basic flight intstruments went "tango uniform" and the
> airmanship he demonstrated in getting back earned him the Air Medal."
> _Flying Safety_ vol 51 no 1, Jan 1995 p 3 col 1
> "Maybe my subconscious mind interpreted/misinterpreted the HUD attitude
> faster than my conscious mind, and when the attitude didn't match up
> with what the subconscious thought it ought to be, my somatosensory
> system went Tango Uniform."
> "tough titty" [OED has "tough tiddy" from 1934, under entry for "tough"]
> _Harvard College Class of 1906 Fifteenth Anniversary Report (No. 4)_
> Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1921.  p. 83
> "Having suffered more from the War than most Americans, as I'd been in
> it and had friends lost in it and knew how rotten the Huns were, it was
> pretty tough titty to have to go about wearing civilian clothes and walk
> the streets looking the picture of health."
> "Fixing to" -- not in OED
> Kermit Daugherty _Out of the Red Brush_  Cleveland and NY: World
> Publishing Co., 1954
> p. 11 "We took it perty much as a joke an it never crossed our minds how
> that contraption was fixin to turn our little world upside down."
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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