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

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Sat Feb 8 11:16:53 UTC 2020

On Sat, Feb 08, 2020 at 10:41:10AM +0000, Stephen Goranson wrote:
> 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.

It's not a typo. If you look up _next_ in HDAS, you'll find it defined as 'informed; aware; in the know; (hence) sophisticated; WISE', with a first example from George Ade in 1896, and ten quotations before 1910. (It's also in OED and GDoS.) The additional examples you've found are exactly in line with how the word was used in this period.

Jesse Sheidlower

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

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