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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 20 20:51:43 EST 2016


I have spent many, many decades on your planet without ever encountering
"XYZ" any where, any how.

JL

On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 4:04 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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