[Ads-l] Antedating of "What's Up, Doc?"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun May 8 14:45:40 UTC 2022

The March 2022 release of new words in the OED spotlights "what's up, doc?," with a first use of 1935.  Here is an earlier citation.  There is no reason to believe that Persinger was a doctor.

1882 _Staunton_ (Va.) _Spectator_ 5 Sept. 3/1 (Newspapers.com)  The Alleghany _Tribune_ has this paragraph: "A beautiful black-eyed Staunton lady's presence in Clifton Forge is surmised to be the reason of Capt. Persinger's absence from the Cave at this particular juncture. At all events the smiles of joy that adorned his face evidenced that he was peculiarly satisfied with himself and the rest of mankind on this particular visit. What's up, 'Doc' ?"

Fred Shapiro

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

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