[Ads-l] mental midget

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 27 12:15:16 UTC 2017

Jonathan Lighter  wrote:
> Antedating? (HDAS not to hand.) GB snippet, looks real. Haven't checked any
> newspaper databases for anything earlier:
> 1923 _Sewanee Review_ XXXI 136: The veriest mental midget sees events in
> terms of centuries, of vast movements of flux and achievement.

The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang has on page
540 of volume 2 the following:

[Begin excerpt from HDAS]
mental midget n. a stupid person
1966 N.Y.C. high school student: That mental midget.
[End excerpt from HDAS]

Here is a citation from the theatrical domain in the nineteenth century.

Date: April 28, 1888
Newspaper: The Pittsburgh Post (Pittsburgh Daily Post)
Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Article: Tales of the Stage: Some Remarks on Mr. Keene's Methods of Playing
Quote Page 12, Column 5
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpts - check for typos]
The stage swarms with mental midgets who caparison themselves in
stilted travesties and mechanical monstrosities called plays.
[End excerpts]


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

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