Date: Tue, 2 Aug 1994 09:56:13 -0400 From: Jesse T Sheidlower 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