[Ads-l] proleptic "toast"

Steven Losie stevenlosie at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 21 13:55:02 UTC 2023

This early example is related to the movie, and gives some evidence that
the line in the movie was notable to audiences at the time, supporting the
conclusion that Ghostbusters at least popularized the usage:

[begin quote]
Actually Garvey and Lister aren't selling their ghostbusting skills, but,
rather, Ghostbusters fan-club memberships and paraphernalia. The two men
have the exclusive rights to head the club and design items included in the
membership fee.


To become a member, persons must fill out a ghostbusting job application.
Four simple questions are asked. One question asked is: The next time
someone asks you if you're a god, say: A. Yes; B. Maybe, let me check; C.
This chick is toast; D. Back off, man.
[end quote]
Source: Pittsburgh Press, Sept 20, 1984, Section E, p.1, col.2
Article title: Cashing in: 2 Swissvale men catch spirit with Ghostbusters
fan club
Database: ProQuest Historical Newspapers

A much earlier instance in pun form, though certainly not the proleptic
usage that was later popularized:

[begin quote]
But Lou Little, who learned his football at the University of Pennsylvania,
had other ideas — as had his team. He and it sure done 'em wrong. Coach
Little may be the toast of Morningside Heights, but, so far as Southern
California is concerned, it is burnt toast — ashes, all ashes.
[end quote]
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan 4, 1934, p.3, col.2
Database: ProQuest Historical Newspapers

A semi-related metaphorical usage:

[begin quote]
For me, the difference between Roberts and his successor as the radio voice
of the Bullets is toast with marmalade and just plain old dry toast.
[end quote]
Source: Washington (DC) Star, Oct 26, 1975, p.E7, col.1
Article title: Letters column [letters to the editor]
Author: Andrew Blekaitis
Database: America's Historical Newspapers (Readex/NewsBank)

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

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