[Ads-l] to don

Ben Yagoda byagoda at UDEL.EDU
Sat Dec 14 15:32:49 UTC 2019

I have been noticing this usage in my students' writing for several years and have seen it a couple of times in the press. I speculate that it developed because in this context both “sport” and “wear” are less than ideal—“sport” because it’s old-fashioned and “wear” because it has a much broader meaning than “wearing on a particular occasion.” I also note the roughly parallel development of “rock,” meaning wear a particular clothing item to good effect. Green’s Dictionary of Slang suggests it derives from hip-hop, with the first citation from 1987: "Boogie-Down Productions ‘Elementary’ [lyrics] Always talkin junk, yet in jail, youre rockin dresses [...] Watchin all these females rock their pants too tight.”


> On Dec 14, 2019, at 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system <LISTSERV at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> wrote:
> Date:    Fri, 13 Dec 2019 15:39:16 -0500
> From:    Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM <mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>>
> Subject: to don
> 'To sport; wear":
> 2019
> https://www.yahoo.com/gma/pigeons-wearing-cowboy-hats-roaming-las-vegas-nobody-103500468--abc-news-topstories.html <https://www.yahoo.com/gma/pigeons-wearing-cowboy-hats-roaming-las-vegas-nobody-103500468--abc-news-topstories.html>
> :
> But almost a week after the birds were first spotted donning the cowboy
> hats, perhaps the two biggest questions remain unanswered -- who did this
> and why?
> JL
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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