Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 01:17:23 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Rat Line; Beat and Square, again RAT LINE "Rat line" is a term used at the Virginia Military Institute that I wasn't aware of. Rat=freshman. VMI is in the news because it's now coed. Hm, if only we had someone on this list from VMI, I can't imagine who... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- BEAT and SQUARE The dating error cited by Fred Shapiro is in Hendrickson's original; it was my error for not pointing out Hendrickson's error. Hendrickson makes lots of errors and doesn't do original research--I probably shouldn't have quoted him at all. I finally found Tom Dalzell's FLAPPERS 2 RAPPERS in my apartment. "Beat" is on the cover and is well-chronicled on pages 94-96. "Square" is described by Dalzell on pages 100-103. On page 102, he writes that "_Square_ was a key word in the Beat movement, which drew the lines between us and them to a far starker degree than past youth subcultures had." The earliest citation is Cab Calloway's 1938 HEPSTER'S DICTIONARY; a square is an unhip person. Still, where's square? Did it originally refer to Washington Square or Times Square? If the term originated in Harlem, "square" for "Times Square" (that unhip downtown spot) would make some sense. In the "tudor-tourist words" I copied a week ago from the New York Post's travel section, "square meal" was one of the British terms. This may be disputed--THE BARNHART DICTIONARY OF ETYMOLOGY has "The meaning of full, solid, substantial (said of meals) is first found about 1850, in American English." The traditional tour guide etymology caveats apply. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- Welcome back to the USA, Lynne! (Provided, of course, that Texas is still considered part of the Union.)