[Ads-l] "Official Ephus" and eephus?

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Dec 17 12:28:32 UTC 2019

1928, Aug. 31, Healdsburg [CA] Tribune, no 249 [Elephind]

Fortune Tellers in Town, Herded Out Within Half Hour

The last time the Gypsies visited Healdsburg they left one victim, who in spite of hearing a rosy fortune for himself fortold, came the next morning to cry on the shoulders of Chief of Police James V. Mason—he had paid $25 as the price of the “ephus” on his future when one of the band convinced him she could not properly fortell without being permitted to hold his wallet.

(Correction to previous post: Pollock not Polluck.)

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:11 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] Fw: [ADS-L] "Official Ephus" and eephus?

I agree with OED that a Hebrew origin seems unlikely.
HDAS and Green's online give a non-baseball 1935: A. J. Polluck, Underworld Speaks, "Ephus, dependable information, the low down."
The 1929 ship use reminds me of USNA slang (skinny, dope etc.)...(and Sec. of Navy Josephus Daniels? Were the baseball players ex-sailors?)
Here is a July 20, 1924 [B:8] use in another nonsense narrative. Charlotte [NC] Observer [Am. Hist. N.] Title: "Doping it out with Nina Wilcox Putnam, America's Only Woman Humorist"
"Then while still in the mood we give the Tomb of Napoleon the ephus. This is where Nap is taking a final one, and I had to locate the spot where Marc Anthony had made the famous ovation, but the X had been removed."

Stephen G.
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 2:01 AM
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "Official Ephus" and eephus?

Never heard of <eephus> till now, but it migrated to that part of my brain
harboring <dufus> and <goofus> 'klutz', with pseudo-Classical inflections.

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