[Ads-l] "putting [someone] 'hep to the good thing''' 1902 (an antedating? my 1903)

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Jan 31 11:42:10 UTC 2020

I suggest that "hep," in the sense in the 1902 text below, and also "hept," may have originated from US dialect pronunciation of "help" and "helped." That help and hep are equivalent in, say, "let me hep you with that" needs no detailed argument (or see DARE for examples). Here are a few uses that may help (or get you hep to) the proposal.

"Michael Hessheimer of Lincoln, Neb., had been sick over three years, but six bottles of Electric Bitters put him helped thousands....Only 50c at druggists." Concord Daily Tribune, NC, Oct. 17, 1912, 2/3. [Newspapers.com]

'"Get hept" to the vaudeville habit.' Augusta Chronicle, GA, March 21, 1909, 10/2. [N-s.com]

"Hold this note long enough and get hept to the real lay of things....This is nuf sed." San Francisco Call, April 16, 1911, 85/2 [Chronicling America]

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:13 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] "putting [someone] 'hep to the good thing''' 1902 (an antedating? my 1903)

In a race track scheme story with "slang." Open access, so I'll type only a little. Here, "man of mines" is a long-shot bettor rich from lead and zinc mining.

The Republic, St. Louis, MO, Friday, January 3, 1902 [corrected date], page 6, col. 2. [1]

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."

Stephen Goranson


PS. A (new?) etymological proposal may follow, but now mere reporting.

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