"Suit to a t-y-t" (and similiar)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Mon Nov 12 18:10:30 UTC 2012

Here's a WAG: German "ja" is often used not in its basic meaning ("yes") but for emphasis; I think of it as adding adrenalin to what is being said, e.g., "Geh ja nicht dahin" (Don't go there!!, i.e., Whatever you do, don't go there; don't go there on any account!).

With that in mind, perhaps "y" in "t-y-t" might also have originally been merely "yes," with great additional emphasis coming from "totally" being rendered (twice) as "tee-totally."

So: Something originally suited someone "tee-totally, yes tee-totally!", or for short "t-y-t."

Gerald Cohen
Message from Bonnie Taylor-Blake, Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:18 AM:

On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 6:13 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> Here's a slight antedating
> Headline: [C. H. Stark; Mr. Stark; Harry]; Article Type: News/Opinion
> Paper: Idaho Statesman, published as Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman; Date: 10-22-1872; Volume: IX; Issue: 40; Page: [3]; Location: Boise, Idaho
> ....Mr. Stark is an old hand at the [saloon] business and will serve his patrons to a T Y T in everything in his line.

For what it's worth, here's a slightly earlier sighting (barely).
Nothing illuminating about it, however.

"The play last evening was the dashing comedy of the 'Hidden Hand'
with Mrs. Breslau in the saucy, off-hand and rollicking character of
'Capitola:' and with the inimitable Dick Johnston personating "Old
Wool" to a t-y-tee."  [From "Theatrical," *The Daily State Register*,
Des Moines, Iowa, 24 October 1867.  Via Archives of Americana.]

-- Bonnie

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

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

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