[Ads-l] winner, winner chicken dinner (1991)

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 16 15:26:54 UTC 2017

Link was bad in my earlier e-mail which I sent from my phone which sometimes corrupts my messages.

Here's a better link, and an excerpt from my post:

Baby Shoes, Calico dresses, African Golf and Crabs - a Dicey History and Etymology of "Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes!"<https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2014/10/baby-shoes-calico-dresses-african-golf.html>

[Begin excerpt]

Craps players have chanted, “Baby needs a new pair of shoes,” for more than one hundred years:

Played Craps on a Train.

Stark Bell, Patrick Gallagher, John Thompson, Vincent Garcia and John Fernando, arrested Saturday for playing craps on a train from the Tanforan racetrack, appeared before Judge Conlan yesterday.  The charges against Gallagher and Fernando were dismissed and the others were continued till to-day.  Special Officers Kindelon and Madden, who made the arrests, testified that they saw the game being played, but instead of saying “Come seven; come eleven,” they said, “Baby needs a pair of new shoes,” “If I win I’ll eat chicken to-night” and “The attorney’s fees must be paid.”  About sixteen of the players jumped off the train to escape arrest, although it was running at the rate of sixteen miles an hour.

The San Francisco Call,  March 27, 1900, page 4.  The phrase, "[i]f I win I'll eat chicken  to-night," may also presage another ubiquitous gambling phrase; "winner,  winner, chicken dinner!"
[End excerpt]

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Sunday, July 16, 2017 6:56:52 AM
Subject: winner, winner chicken dinner (1991)

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      winner, winner chicken dinner (1991)

"Winner, winner chicken dinner" is the subject of this piece by Kotaku
that's making the rounds:


That in turn quotes a 2009 article from Deadspin:

"In an e-mail, David Guzman, an author of _A Guide to Craps Lingo from
Snake Eyes to Muleteeth_, writes: "'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' came from
alley craps back in the Depression. They used to play craps in alleys and
didn't always use $$$, but if they did it use $$$ and they where winning,
it meant they they could afford chicken for dinner that night.' The
literature on the subject is limited, however, and Guzman allows that
'Winner winner chicken dinner' may have roots in Cockney rhyming slang."

While the phrase does appear to originate as the call of a stickman in
craps, there's no evidence that it goes back to the Depression era, or that
it's from Cockney rhyming slang. We previously discussed this in 2008, with
examples from 1997 (on Usenet):


Barry Popik took it back to 1995 (also on Usenet):


Here it is in print from 1991.

Asbury Park (NJ) Press, Nov. 24, 1991, p. 70
"Dealers' chants pump up players"
"So, when the action's heating up, you'll hear the stickmen go into their
routines: You got a Wager, Major; Gotta Hunch, Bet a Bunch; Bet a Chunk,
Win a Hunk; Bring a Buck and a Truck; Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner; Six,
Easy Six, Bet the Eight, Running Mate; Shooting the Don't, Says he Won't;
Four, Trey, the Country Way, and And on and on."


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

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

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