[Ads-l] pop a cap: big antedating

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 3 07:36:06 UTC 2015

Here's "pop a cap" and "popped a cap" from an 1856 trial report:

Saw Simon Everett at this time
walk around McGowan and pop a cap at him. Mc-
Gowan and J. H. Everett clinched. I tripped up
young Everett on the steps. His father then ad-
vanced pistol in hand. I let go J. H. and went to-
wards Simon Everett McGowan and Everett then
fired at each other. Did not catch the old man as
he gave back. The father popped a cap before the
young man and McGowan got together.

Also has: "Heard cap pop", "burst a cap", "cap burst", "heard caps snap",

Weekly North Carolina standard. (Raleigh, N.C.), 30 April 1856.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Also, I wrote about "bust a cap" here:
http://english.stackexchange.com/a/84693/9001 which might not add much
notes the OED has "burst a cap" from January 1838 [parenthetically
under "P4. to bust a cap"]. This is the same as the 1839 Wilson posted
about Lafayette.


This May 1838 also agrees with "bursting" being a failed shot:

In this S makes an abortive attempt at
wit, and though it proved a failure, we
would advise him to try again, it is only
the bursting of a cap, perhaps he'll shoot
next time--snap it again.
Piney Woods planter and Amite union literary reflector. (Liberty,
Miss.), 05 May 1838. Chronicling America: Historic American
Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

And 1839:



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

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