"hook up with"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 17 06:35:44 UTC 2013

It seems there are three different meanings of "hook up" and they've
evolved sine 1988 (and likely earlier).

First, there was the "dating" sense of "hook up", perhaps reduced to
"casual" dating, with or without sex. Then just casual sex, as in, "We
hook up sometimes."

Second, you have the direct reference to having sex with someone in
particular at a particular time. This seems to be the usage in JSB's
original post.

Finally, there's the version that I know I mentioned about five years
ago and that appeared in the New York times about a year before that.
The specific reference is to act of picking someone up for the purpose
of casual, uncommitted sex and the term is associated with
women--particularly, women taking control of the encounters (as the NYT
story told it). So, the question I heard from a young (23) Canadian
(Toronto) in January 2008 (in Groningen) was, "Where can one get hooked
up around here?" (more specifically, which bars would be best for this
purpose). The social context in this instance is of particular
importance--much more narrowly so than in the other two.


On 1/17/2013 12:05 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> I thought the Dear Margo quotation was merely
> amusing, for a foam club with another
> section.  But apparently the pros consider it as significant and meaningful.
> Considering that the late 1980s speakers Larry
> reported had to duplicate the phrase, with added
> emphasis or de-emphasis of the first or second
> occurrence, in order to make themselves -- or try
> to make themselves -- explicit, I wonder how
> anyone will be able to determine when "romantic"
> expanded to "sexual" (to use the terms in the
> OED's Draft Additions December 2005).  Are the
> OED's 1903 and 1950 quotations sexual, or merely romantic?
> 1903   G. Ade People you Know 69   Then he hooked
> up with Laura so as to get a real Home.
> 1950   Gaz. & Bull. (Williamsport, Pa.)
> (Electronic text) 9 June,   If I weren't married
> to Miss Mary and didn't love Miss Mary, I would
> try to hook up with either of them.
> Does the apparent incompatibility of marriage and
> love with hooking up imply the 1950 quotation is about sex?
> How about the 1989?
> 1989   S. Forward Toxic Parents ii. xiii.
> 254,   I keep hooking up with these cold, unresponsive guys.
> Does "cold, unresponsive" refer to (lack of
> interest in) romance or sex? If so, does it belong here at all?
> Does the OED need to -- or can it? -- separate
> romantic and sexual into two senses, with quotations for each?
> Joel

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