[Ads-l] ABC (was Re: XYZ revived)

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 20 16:04:24 EST 2016


I've known "XYZ" for a long time. I used it just a few days ago to a man,
maybe 25-35, who picked up on it with no hesitation and attended to the
need. It's *short* and, if you know the expression, clear, so it's easy to
mutter in passing without noticeably (to others) speaking to the addressee.

Mark

On Dec 15, 2016 4:18 PM, "Barretts Mail" <mail.barretts at gmail.com> wrote:

> Around the same time in the 1970s, I recall the use of “ABC gum” to mean
> “gum that’s Already Been Chewed.”
>
> The ridiculousness of that notwithstanding, I see that it continues to
> have currency today.
>
> Urban Dictionary
> http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=abc%20gum
>
> Fake ABC Gum as a gag
> https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Trick-Pink-Chewed-Practical/dp/B00IEHD1F2 <
> https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Trick-Pink-Chewed-Practical/dp/B00IEHD1F2>
>
> Benjamin Barrett
> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>
> > On 15 Dec 2016, at 09:48, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> > I share Benjamin B.'s recollection of its use in the '70s. I grew up in
> > central NJ, but the newspaper databases show scattered usage all over by
> > that point -- sometimes with elaborations like "XYZ, PDQ." (One that I'm
> > not familiar with is the retort "ABC!" -- for "Already Been Checked.")
> > Earliest example I've found is from 1966:
> >
> > ---
> > Evansville (Ind.) Courier and Press, Mar. 1, 1966, p. 9, col. 1
> > [Genealogybank]
> > "Morning Assignment: Youngsters Have a Language All Their Own" by Joe
> Aaron
> > Young boys, for example -- those, say, in the fifth or sixth grades in
> > school -- are known to have a great deal of difficulty with the zippers
> on
> > their pants, so that the dad-ratted fasteners sometimes don't fasten very
> > well at ll.
> > On such an occasion, I have been informed by one of my younger agents,
> one
> > boy hisses to the other:
> > "XYZ!"
> > Translation: "Examine your zipper!"
> > ---
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 9:26 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Barn doors were still open in the fifties, but the horse’s whereabouts
> >> didn’t usually need to be specified.  Can’t say as I’d ever heard “XYZ”
> >> though (and  Petersville time checks wouldn’t have helped in the
> post-war
> >> Zipper Age).
> >>
> >> LH
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Dec 15, 2016, at 12:23 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> On Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 2:59 PM, Barretts Mail <
> mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> I recall this acronym for “examiner your zipper” being used in the
> 1970s
> >>>> to mean “your zipper is open.”
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> It's brand-new to me. Back in button days of the '40's, we said,
> >>>
> >>> "It's [number of buttons unbuttoned] o'clock in Petersville"
> >>>
> >>>                                       or
> >>>
> >>> "Your barn-door's open (and your horse is getting out),"
> >>>
> >>> which also works for zippered flies.
> >>>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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