[Ads-l] to "finagle" cotton

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 8 16:17:36 UTC 2021

I wonder if the positive affect of “finesse” has somehow been overlaid on the (usually) pejorative implications of “finagle”, which I always thought of as Irish in origin but apparently isn’t. I was probably thinking of Finnegan.  

> On Aug 8, 2021, at 12:13 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
> "The cotton, known locally as phuti karpas, was very delicate, snapped and
> frayed easily, and could only be finagled under conditions of
> extreme—sometimes artificially enhanced—humidity."
> From an article called "Resurrecting an Ancient Fabric. . . .", circulated
> on the Good News Network, April 20, 2021, and by the Daily Kos a week
> later, which is where I saw it.
> My father was an old-time Brooklyn guy, born in the early 1890s.  He used
> "finagle" frequently, always meaning to achieve something by underhanded
> methods.  "He was finagled out of $20", for instance.
> So this is a sense of "finagle" that Father wouldn't recognize, but I have
> to be glad to see it reborn in a new century.
> -- 
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
> The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
> picture of his great-grandfather.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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