[Ads-l] next puzzle: 1903 "Hept--to get wise or next."

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Feb 8 10:41:10 UTC 2020

My list of seven early "hep" uses were ones I found. There are others. HDAS  gives (as does OED) 1903 Enquirer (Cincinnati) (May 9) 13: Modern Slang Glossary...Hept--To get wise or next."

An article, "The Circus Origin of 'Hep'" by Laurence Senelick, Popular Entertainment Studies 1 (2010) 107-110 (and available online by title search) quotes the above and adds "[sic]" after "next." Though I think the "circus origin" fails, it did get me thinking about "next." Was it a typo? The News-Democrat, Paducah KY, admittedly later (May 18), also has "next" in the Glossary.

Ads in the 1904 Kansas Agitator, Garnett (Chronicling America) agitate (all hepped up (OED sense 2), avant la lettre?) about a grand holiday sale "READ THIS! GET WISE!! GET NEXT!!!"

My current guess: it's not a typo, but may mean something along the lines that the hept get wise and also are initiated (that is, helped into knowing) about what is upcoming.

Stephen Goranson

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

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