[Ads-l] Fwd: Scaredy Cat - 1904; Fraidy Cat - 1889

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 26 20:00:31 UTC 2021

Has anyone checked out the Google snippet purporting to be from Friday
Afternoon Speaker by Thomas Stewart Denison, dated 1881?

"So you see it ain't no fun When the fellers laugh and say "Fraidy-cat, you
dassant play".

On Thu, Mar 25, 2021 at 4:35 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> A recent episode of Jeopardy featured an "answer" about a New Yorker
> contributor who coined the expression, "Scaredy Cat."  The correct
> "question" was "who is Dorothy Parker," who is widely regarded as having
> first used it in 1933.
> But "Scaredy Cat" appeared as early as 1904, and frequently afterward,
> and "Fraidy Cat" dates to at least 1889.  There are many earlier
> references to people jumping, running, or looking like a "scared cat"
> "scared tom-cat" or "scared pole-cat".
> Pine Bluff Daily Graphic (Pine Bluff, Arkansas), October 11, 1904, page
> 3.
> [Excerpt] The little boys at school called her 'little Fraid Girl,' and
> when they wanted to teaser hery much they called her 'Scaredy-cat.'
> [End Excerpt]
> The same story appeared in Pennsylvania at about the same time, and the
> expression pops up elsewhere in the next few years, so it's not clear
> whether it originated as a localism there or not, although the earliest
> example of "Fraidy Cat" also appeared in Arkansas, so you never know.
> Daily Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, May 12, 1889, page 14.
> [Excerpt] "Go 'long fraidy-cat; you're a regular baby to let that little
> bird scare you," come from the foot of the tree.   [End Excerpt]
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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