antedating _six-feet under_

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 20 17:36:49 UTC 2013

David Barnhart wrote:
> In researching _six-feeted_, I came across Berrey & van den Bark (1942)
> evidence of _six-feet under_ (meaning "dead").  A little digging found the
> following from 1939 in a newspaper cartoon ("Inspector Wade," Chester
> [Penn.] Times, Nov. 8, 1939, p 15):
> "I'm puttin' you two coppers with the daisies!  Six feet under is your next
> stop!"

Great work, David. Here is a lead for an instance of "six feet under
ground" used as slang in 1931. Only snippets are visible in Google
Books, but the snippet with the expression shows part of the table of
contents. The stories listed in the table of contents identify the
precise issue. Hence, with high probablity the excerpt below appeared
in the January 3, 1931 issue of Collier's magazine (requires

Periodical: Collier's
Volume: 87
Page: 6
Year: 1931
(Google Books snippet view; data may be inaccurate; must be verified on paper)

[Begin excerpt]
He went so far that he displeased some of the older residents, and
they sent to Sicily for old Don Pep' to put Ignazio in his place -
which was six feet under ground - according to the old-fashioned
rules. Damon Runyon describes the meeting . . .
[End excerpt]

Table of contents snippet shows "Fed-Up" by Don Marquis and "Sea
Eagle" George Creel. The FictionMags Index identifies the issue as:
Collier’s [v 87 # 1, January 3, 1931]


The American Dialect Society -

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