[Ads-l] Hep: Gerald Cohen's publication and the 7 earliest uses known to me

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Feb 6 18:23:34 UTC 2020

I now have a copy of Gerald Cohen, "Hep/Hip Again" from Comments on Etymology, May, 2018, pages 43-45.

If I may quote two sentences from page 43:
"_Hep_ probably derives from the Southern variant form of _help_, viz. _hep_.
A jazz player whose playing was weak might have been advised to "get hep" (i.e., help); such help/tutoring from an experienced jazz player could make a great difference."

I agree with the first sentence. And Jerry got there before I did!

I am currently a bit less in agreement with the second sentence. One reason is that, as far as the earliest examples go (see below, some not reported here before), no music setting (much less jazz) seems to obtain, at least early on. Nor a circus setting, etc.
More to come. Comments (pro or con or otherwise) welcome.

1899, Feb. 12, Sunday, The Times, Washington, DC.  p. 13, col. 2.
The Night Hawk's Woes.  The Cabbie Details his Sorrows to the Copper. (From the Chicago Chronicle) [1, whole article available online]
<start quote, cabman speaking>
Cold? On the dead, it was colder in that kitchen than any of them Klondike suckers
ever heard about. An' as soon as I get out I'm hep that the water's froze.
<end quote>

1902, Jan. 3, Fri. , The Republic, St. Louis, MO p. 6 col. 2
In a race track scheme story with "slang." Here, "man of mines" is a long-shot bettor rich from lead and zinc mining.
The understanding that Fessenden had was that he was to get $800 of the plunder for putting the man of mines "hep to the good thing."

1903, July 6, Evening World, NY,  10/7 " Allow me, please, to put you hep to this oceanside thing."

1903, Sept 21, Evening World, NY, [someone upon seeing a supposedly French Waiter] " slinging hash or wearing livery gets hep."

1903, Nov. 25,  Evening World, NY, 8/5  "....With your kind permission and attention I'll put you hep to the finish."

1904, Sept. 2, Evening World, NY "I was put hep to the scenario"

1905 "...for not having put him hep to the way things had been standing with me."

Stephen Goranson

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

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