[Ads-l] "March Madness" "Sweet Sixteen" and the like

Michael Everson everson at EVERTYPE.COM
Wed Apr 10 17:15:27 UTC 2019

Of course in “A Mad Tea-Party” the March Hare is quite mad (the Hatter is not, and he is never called *Mad Hatter either by Carroll) but there is also the story the Dormouse tells of the three sisters with all the alliteration of things beginning with M:

‘They were learning to draw,’ the Dormouse went on, yawning and rubbing its eyes, for it was getting very sleepy; ‘and they drew all manner of things — everything that begins with an M— … such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness — you know you say things are “much of a muchness”— did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’

Michael Everson

> On 29 Mar 2019, at 18:58, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Last year I started a thread about this here.
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2018-March/151255.html
> I recently posted a piece summarizing my findings on "March Madness", "Sweet Sixteen," "Elite Eight", "Cinderella" teams and the "Big Dance."
> https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2019/03/sweet-elite-madness-alliterative.html
> I didn't find anything earlier than the 1927 "Sweet Sixteen" I mentioned here last year, although I did find some new, early examples from 1928, also in Indiana.
> I didn't find anything earlier than the 1931 example of "March Madness" Barry Popik found previously.  I did, however, provide examples of earlier meanings of "March madness," including one common usage relating to bad weather.
> The 1931 example appears to play off the weather-related usage.  Under the headline, "March Madness," it refers to a number of recent upsets in the tournament as "flurries".  It does not unambiguously refer to the tournament itself as "March madness," although the inspiration for the expression is clearly there.
> https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/march_madness
> I haven't seen any other examples until 1937 when it becomes common, and was used at that time in both Indiana and Michigan.  It might be older, but no examples in print other than the 1931 example.

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list