[Ads-l] Miscellany

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 20:15:55 EDT 2021


1
In the '50s and '60s it was thought comical to ask, "Wotsa matta you?"
("What's the matter with you?") in a pseudo-Italian accent.  One story-line
of Rocky and Bullwinkle mentioned the football squad of  "Wotsamatta U."

But it seems originally to have been pseudo-Chinese (or maybe pidgin):

1877 _Arizona Weekly Citizen_ (Oct. 20) 4:  What's a matta you? You clazy?

1907 _The World To-Day_ (Feb.) 237: [Caption:] "Will there be war between
the United States and Japan?" [Japanese cartoon figure says:] Aw, wha sa
maller you! Uncle Sammy my bes' flen'.

1916 _Honolulu Advertiser_ (Apr. 30) 4: What a matta you? ...Wikiwiki
police take.

1956 _Columbus [O.] Dispatch_ (Sept. 23) 21-A: A waitress in Seoul
declares: "Whatsa matta you? Chicken hava no. Sukoshi ham hava yes."

1980 Joe Dolce "Shaddup You Face" (pop song): What'sa matta you, hey?/
Gotta no respect!

1984 _Lassen County Times_  [Susanville, Calif.] (Feb. 8) 19: To Dave at
Gumbas. Roses are red, Violets are blue. Your pizza is perfect. What's 'a
matta you>"

2
At about the same time (ca1960), you could indicate someone was a "square"
with the following gesture:  Place index fingers side by side. Move one
left, one right about the same distance simultaneously. Move them downward
in parallel a similar distance. Bring them straight together.

The gesture is plainly shown in the movie _Young Man's Fancy_ (1952).


3
1996 _MA. v. Womack_ ( Court TV) (March 14):  I used the F-word every few
words [in my extortion note]. I wanted the letter to be serious, but to add
a note of comedy to it.

JL

On Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 11:19 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Earliest "piece of ass"? Dunno either.  Unidiomatic by today's standards,
> but poss. close enough for government work, esp. in the House:
>
> ca1795_The Festival of Anacreon_ (ed. 7) [London: G. Peacock]10: Snip
> seiz'd an artless lass, Sirs,/ And cabbag'd her virginity, the best piece
> of her ----, Sirs.
>
> JL
>
> On Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 11:03 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> Earliest ex. of "wimpy"?   Dunno:
>>
>> 1943 Keith Ayling _Semper Fidelis_   (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin) 155: A
>> certain marine, Private Wendling -- "Wimpy Wendling," as Hurlbut dubbed
>> him. "Wimpy" was only five feet, six inches and weighed about a hundred and
>> forty. "He looks about as pugnacious as Caspar Milquetoast and has never
>> had a fistfight in all his twenty years," wrote Hurlbut. In civilian life,
>> Wimpy was employed by a greeting-card company.
>>
>> If this is a simple application of the J. Wellington Wimpy name, it's odd
>> that there's no reference to hamburgers, obesity, cadging, or even a funny
>> mustache.
>>
>> JL
>>
>>
>> On Sat, Apr 17, 2021 at 7:44 PM George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> He's _your_ fresh an' brud!
>>>
>>> Oh!  "flesh and blood"!  I get it!
>>>
>>> GAT
>>>
>>> On Sat, Apr 17, 2021 at 5:35 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> > > fresh an' brud
>>> >
>>> > That is a really *old-fashioned* style of pronunciation! Not sure that
>>> I've
>>> > ever heard it, but I usually see it in representations of slave-speech.
>>> >
>>> > On Sat, Apr 17, 2021 at 1:26 PM Jonathan Lighter <
>>> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>> > wrote:
>>> >
>>> > > Some of you may know that long before the Internet I used to write
>>> notes
>>> > on
>>> > > cards.  Some of these were on matters of minor linguistic interest.
>>> (Now
>>> > I
>>> > > post things immediately to the list.)
>>> > >
>>> > > I just found a bunch of these at the bottom of an old crate and will
>>> post
>>> > > some here.
>>> > >
>>> > > For a start:
>>> > > I
>>> > > 1902 W. W. Naughton KIngs of the Queensberry Realm_ (Chicago:
>>> > Continental)
>>> > > 41: The old Donnybrook formula, "Wherever you see a head, hit it."
>>> > >
>>> > > II
>>> > > 1996 Black woman, age ca.27 on _Rolanda_ (syn. TV series) (taped in
>>> NYC):
>>> > > He's _your_ fresh an' brud!  [Clearly enunciated].
>>> > >
>>> > > III
>>> > > OK, not linguistic:
>>> > >
>>> > > 1907 _World To-Day_ (Jan. 21): It has been shown beyond reasonable
>>> doubt
>>> > > that all attempts at professionalizing football are likely to fail.
>>> For
>>> > one
>>> > > thing, the game is too dangerous for men to take up as a livelihood.
>>> > >
>>> > > (And that's just for one thing!)
>>> > >
>>> > > JL
>>> > >
>>> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> > > The American Dialect Society -
>>> >
>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=nXvIlGPaA0afSqTVKLEjLr-TWuNju_R9QmeTon-yWss&s=lHBJ0WE2_Msjg_BXCC6Ns60FtJLriUj-s6qnHk_oLXE&e=
>>> > >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > - Wilson
>>> > -----
>>> > All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
>>> > come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>> > -Mark Twain
>>> >
>>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> > The American Dialect Society -
>>> >
>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=nXvIlGPaA0afSqTVKLEjLr-TWuNju_R9QmeTon-yWss&s=lHBJ0WE2_Msjg_BXCC6Ns60FtJLriUj-s6qnHk_oLXE&e=
>>> >
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> 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
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
>> truth."
>>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>


-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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


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