[Ads-l] "dancing fool" 'a fool for dancing'

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 26 23:57:23 UTC 2019

OED's no help, but here are some notable occurrences of "dancing/dancin'

"The Dancin' Fool" (1920 silent comedy film)

"The Dancing Fool" (1932 animated cartoon with Betty Boop)

"Dancin' Fool" (1974 song by The Guess Who)

"Dancin' Fool" (1979 song by Frank Zappa)

On Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 7:12 PM Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu>

> i've stumbled on this formulaic expression in preparing a posting (it
> comes up in a song from the Broadway show "Once Upon a Mattress", a song
> sung by the Jester -- i.e., a fool), and started to track it down, but easy
> places on the net provided nothing useful, and (in my latest computer
> screwup) the OED is at least temporarily unavailable to me.  it isn't
> crucial to my posting, but my curiosity has been piquied...
> is there literature about the the history of this expression?  is there a
> history of a larger usage "V-ing fool"?  (or are such occurrences parasitic
> on "dancing fool"?)

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

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