Date: Tue, 2 Aug 1994 09:56:13 -0400

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: Re: Queries: GAY

2. In his short story "I'm a Fool," Sherwood Anderson uses the term GAY to

mean 'rambunctious', 'belligerent', or just plain 'crazy'. My colleague

tells me that he thinks that Stephen Crane used it, but he can't find it

now; apparently it is not in MAGGIE. I cannot find it in any slang

dictionary that I have at my immediate disposal. Does anyone know this

usage--from literature, linguistics, lexicographical research, or life?

In the _Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang,_ we have

definition 3 of GAY as "unruly; impertinent; forward; reckless." The

first citation we have is indeed from Stephen Crane, _NYC Sketches_

(1893): "When a feller asts a civil question yehs needn't git gay."

The next example is from F.P. Dunne, 1895: "War...'tis like gettin'

gay in front iv a polis station." Then George Ade, from _Artie_ in

1896: "Some day you'll get too gay an' a guy'll give you a funny poke."

Examples follow, heavily in the 1890s, with reasonable frequency to

1970 (Studs Terkel). We do not have the Anderson cite, but it isn't

really necessary to fill out the record.

Hope this helps.

Jesse T Sheidlower

Random House Reference