[Ads-l] TK

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Nov 9 14:38:46 EST 2017

Some years ago we discussed the process by which "come" in the sense of '(sexually) ejaculate' evolved into "kum" as a noun.


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, November 9, 2017 2:35:45 PM
Subject: Re: TK

Seems like the grand tradition that gave us “O.K.” (< “oll korrect”) is alive and well, or was in the 20th century, anyway...

> On Nov 9, 2017, at 2:00 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Here is an example in 1921 where it seems that "Hed to Kum" was
> inserted by an editor and it accidentally appeared in the final
> publication.
> Date: April 1921
> Periodical: Feedingstuffs
> Article: The Stockman Is Coming Back
> AUTHOR: F.C. Minkler (American Feed Manufacturers Assn)
> Quote Page 54
> Database: Google Books
> https://books.google.com/books?id=uus9AQAAMAAJ&q=%22hed+to%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> If it pays to feed 50 cent corn to $10.00 hogs or $10.00 cattle, it
> will pay to tuck the same feed under the more pliable skins of the
> pure bred animal, although the grade feeder is apt to come to life
> sooner than the pure bred, simply because the turn over will take
> place with a smaller initial investment and
> Hed to Kum
> [End excerpt]
> Google Books shows a snippet match circa 1923. The data shown in
> snippet matches is sometimes inaccurate. Searching for "1923" within
> the book reveals a snippet with the name of the author "George C.
> Bastian" and "Chicago, October, 1923." This snippet probably appears
> at the end of the preface. So the date is probably ok. But the
> information should be verified with hardcopy.
> Year: 1923
> Title: Editing the Day's News: An Introduction to Newspaper
> Copyreading, Headline Writing, Illustration, Makeup, and General
> Newspaper Methods
> Author: George C. Bastian
> Quote Page 228
> Database: Google Books Snippet; this data may be inaccurate and should
> be verified with hardcopy
> https://books.google.com/books?id=BgHba-Ic3akC&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22hed+to%22
> [Begin extracted text]
> H.T.C., H.T.K. — Head to come,
> or "hed to kum," indorsed on copy
> to indicate story is running and
> [End extracted text]
> Below is a match in 1946 for "HTK" and "Head to Kum" that is fully
> visible in HathiTrust.
> Year: 1946
> Title: Editing the Small City Daily
> Author: Robert M. Neal with commentaries by Professor Eugen W. Sharp
> and the late John M. Imrie.
> Publisher: Prentice-Hall, New York
> Edition: Revised
> Database: HathiTrust
> Quote Page 245
> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015030920808
> https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015030920808?urlappend=%3Bseq=263
> [Begin excerpt]
> To save time, he sends along the lead before he writes the headline.
> The lead carries a notation to assure the copy cutter that the
> headline will be coming and that it hasn't been lost in the journey
> from desk to composing room. This warning generally is the statement,
> at the top of the lead, "Head to Come," often shortened to "H. to C."
> or to "HTK" (Head to Kum).
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 12:20 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Here is a link to a 1958 newspaper story that explains the related
>> abbreviation HTK which means "head to kum" or "hed to kum".
>> Date: November 22, 1958
>> Newspaper: Daily Independent Journal
>> Newspaper Location: San Rafael, California
>> Quote Page M6
>> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/14993436/1958_example_of_printer_slang_htk_hed/
>> [Begin excerpt from photo caption]
>> LINOTYPE BANK — Here, words are turned into metal, not only for news
>> stories but for advertisements. Each story bears an identifying "slug"
>> referring to its heading or "HTK," meaning "hed to kum." As type is
>> set, it is transferred to "galleys" or trays on "bank" at right. Slugs
>> guide "floor men" in shunting type to proper department.
>> [End excerpt]
>> Below is a citation from 1922 containing the phrase "Hed to Kum". This
>> phrase seems to be a message to the printer, but it appeared in the
>> final copy. This was due to an error by the printer. Alternatively, it
>> was an obscure joke.
>> Date: July 1922
>> Volume 23, Number 7
>> Periodical: Correct English: How to Use It
>> Article: A Study in Expressive Word Combinations
>> Subtitle: From The Secret Places of the Heart
>> Article Author: H.G. Wells
>> Note: Excerpt appears at the end of the article
>> Start Page 182, Quote Page 183
>> Publisher: Correct English Publishing Co., Evanston, Illinois
>> https://books.google.com/books?id=y1RJAQAAMAAJ&q=%22to+kum%22#v=snippet&
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> —The Queries and Answers omitted in this number, will be resumed in
>> the August number
>> —Hed to Kum—How goes?
>> [End excerpt]
>> Garson O'Toole
>> On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 10:54 AM, Theresa Fisher
>> <fisher.theresa at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I'm writing a short article in which I discuss the abbreviation TK (meaning
>>> "to come" in journalism and publishing). I know the basic origin story of
>>> TK: Back in the days of print journalism, TK (as well as lede, hed and dek)
>>> were used as purposely misspelled shorthand that proofreaders and copy
>>> editors wouldn't mistake for actual copy or typos.
>>> I've read that "K" was chosen both because TK is an unusual letter
>>> combination and because it's an abbreviation of the slang "to kum."
>>> But I was hoping to find some more detailed information about TK and was
>>> wondering if anyone had more insight on its history or usage.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Theresa
>>> --
>>> Theresa Fisher
>>> fisher.theresa at gmail.com
>>> 914 500 3434
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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

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