[Ads-l] where to find sympathy
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 19 07:02:09 UTC 2017
Thanks for mentioning some QI entries, Ben.
A version of the dictionary joke probably appeared in 1959 according
to a Google Books (GB) snippet match. Ben observed that the
alphabetization is oddly inaccurate for some versions of this joke.
This problem is present in the instance below: "sympathy" is supposed
to be between "something" and "sweat".
Year: 1959 (sayeth GB)
Title: Journal of Proceedings of the National Marine Engineers'
Beneficial Association of the United States of America: Record of the
Publisher: National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (U.S.)
Quote Page 239 (sayeth GB)
Database: Google Books snippet; metadata may be inaccurate; search for
"1959" indicates that 1959 convention record is in the volume. Search
for "1960" suggests that it is a date in the future.
[Begin extracted text]
And you can find "sympathy" in the dictionary.
DELEGATE KELLOGG: Between?
DELEGATE CALHOON: Between "something" and "sweat." (Laughter) I am not
going to look for it.
[End extracted text]
Here is a variant dictionary quip based on sympathy ascribed to Wilson
Mizner that was published in 1935.
Year: 1935 Copyright
Title: The Fabulous Wilson Mizner
Author: Edward Dean Sullivan
Publisher: The Henkle Company, New York, New York
Chapter 21: The Main Event
Quote Page 322
Verified with hardcopy
Powerfully built at fifty-six and never having been seriously ill,
Mizner recalled that after he left Florida and spent a most enjoyable
and all-encompassing month of gayety at Reno he had written back to
his brother Addison, remarking that he feared he was losing his
Addison wired back: "What do you care, you've heard everything."
"Which proved my contention," Wilson remarked, "that you'll find
sympathy under 'symp' in the dictionary."
Charlie Doyle examined this topic within an article published in the
journal "Proverbium" last year. Charlie (and coauthor) shared the
valuable 1961 citation.
[ref] 2016, Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship,
Volume 33,The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs: A Supplement by Charles
Clay Doyle and Wolfgang Mieder, Start Page 85, Quote Page 113,
Published by The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. (Verified
You (can) find SYMPATHY between shit (sin) and syphilis (in the dictionary).
1961 George Henry Johnston, Closer to the Sun (New York: Morrow) 154:
'"If I want sympathy, brother,' he said in a lower voice, 'I can find
it where I've always found it—in the dictionary, between "sin" and
"syphilis"!'" 1967 Hal Travers, Voyage Sixty-Nine (Rancocas NJ:
Dorset) 335: "We often found much relief by weeping on each other's
shoulders. I didn't have to look in the dictionary between shit and
syphilis so long as he was available."
On Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:07 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> On the Strong Language blog, I look into variations on a saying we
> discussed a couple of years ago: "If you're looking for sympathy, you can
> find it in the dictionary between 'shit' and 'syphilis.'"
> Linking back to our earlier discussion:
> JL will be glad to know that I tracked down the example he remembered in
> the "World at War" miniseries.
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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