[Ads-l] pissant, OED n. 2 1930, n. 3 1935, and adj. 1952 antedated

James Eric Lawson jel at NVENTURE.COM
Sat Nov 19 08:44:39 UTC 2022

OEDO 'pissant', modified Mar. 2022:

Noun sense 2, "Chiefly Australian. In similative and comparative
phrases. *drunk as a pissant*: extremely drunk. *game as a pissant*:
very brave or courageous." Attested from 1930.

1925 J. Dos Passos _Manhattan Transfer_ 250 "Fellers lets trow dis guy
out. . . . He aint one o de boys. . . . Dunno how he got in here. He's
drunk as a pissant.”


Noun sense 3, "depreciative. An insignificant, contemptible, or
irritating person." Attested from 1935.

1867  _The Evansville Daily Journal_ (Newspapers+) 3 May (An Account of
a Democratic Preliminary Caucus.) 2 This gentleman, with that graceful
dignity so characteristic of the man, hesitatingly answered, but
remembering that bastile story about piss-ant's oaths, &c., and the gift
of a red-headed Yankee scalp, &c., he declined.


1883  _The Crete Democrat_ (Newspapers+) 16 Aug (The Opposition.) 4 The
pissant of the Friendville _Telegraph_, or in other words, Eddie P. M.
Ass, didn't stand fire long in his discussion with the _Vidette_ man.


Adj., "depreciative. (In attributive use.) Insignificant, worthless,
petty; contemptible." Attested from 1952.

1892  _Lincoln Beacon_ (Newspapers+) 10 Mar 4 The originator of the
above report was probably some pissant Republican from Lincoln county
(and we have lots of them), who thought to create distrust and possibly
suspicion and dissension in the Populist camp up here.


James Eric Lawson

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

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