[Ads-l] Word: pantser, seat-of-the-pants, seat-of-the-pantser

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 29 14:43:16 UTC 2022

Not to be confused with "Panzer".


* grin, duck, and run away very very fast

On Tue, Mar 29, 2022, 6:04 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> The lecturer in a YouTube video I watched recently discussed different
> strategies for writing novels. A "plotter" creates a detailed outline
> specifying the characters and story arcs. A "pantser" uses a
> seat-of-the-pants methodology. The characters, events, and plot are
> discovered via the writing process.
> The word "pantser" is listed in neither the Oxford English Dictionary
> nor Green's Dictionary of Slang. The OED does have this entry:
> [Begin excerpt]
> seat-of-the-pants, adj.
> Of a person: tending to act instinctively, spontaneously, or
> expediently. Of an activity: done on the basis of practical experience
> rather than technical knowledge; informal; inexact.
> [End excerpt]
> The OED's first citation for "seat-of-the-pants" is dated 1935. Here
> is a 1932 antedating.
> Date: July 3, 1932
> Newspaper: The Atlanta Constitution
> Newspaper Location: Atlanta, Georgia
> Article: Teaching the Pilot To Fly Blind
> Author: Hugh Sexton
> Section: Sunday Magazine
> Quote Page 4, Column 1
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> They all learned to fly, however, by the "seat of the pants" method,
> as they describe flying by instinct, and are starting all over again
> to learn the new instrument flying.
> [End excerpt]
> The phrase "seat-of-the-pantser" was in circulation by 1959 although
> the first spelling I encountered used a "z" instead of an "s". The
> domain was amateur driving at a sports car event:
> Date: October 28, 1959
> Newspaper: Oakland Tribune
> Newspaper Location:
> Article: Sports Car Events
> Quote Page 58D, Column 1 and 2
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> Rally: 1: Buccaneer's Rally. For seniors, novices, Seat-of-the-Pantzers.
> [End excerpt]
> The first instance of "pantser" I located appeared in a 1994 book by
> entrepreneur Jim Schell. Schell created the word via truncation
> (although earlier instances may exist). He used the word in the
> business domain:
> [ref] 1994 (1993 Copyright), The Brass-Tacks Entrepreneur by Jim
> Schell, Chapter 1: Not Every Small Businessman Is an Entrepreneur,
> Quote Page 5 and 6, Henry Holt and Company, New York. (Verified with
> scans) [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt from page 5]
> My favorite? Seat-of-the-pantser. The Gospel of Basic Business
> Strategies According to Matulef: no policy manuals, no precedents, no
> logical order. As in, straight from the seat of the pants. OK,
> seat-of-the-pantser is too long, with too many syllables. We'll
> shorten it to pantser.
> [End excerpt]
> [Begin excerpt from page 6]
> The pantser is an unsophisticated, entry-level small business owner
> and is not to be confused with the more sophisticated entrepreneur.
> The pantser's primary business motivations are survival and
> sustenance, the entrepreneur's creativity and growth.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson O'Toole
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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