Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 03:46:31 -0500 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Jesses; Dennis; Prairie Chicken; Dare Devil; Let Off Steam; No Go.... I've been looking at the AMERICAN TURF REGISTER AND SPORTING MAGAZINE for "Black Maria" (for David Shulman and others) and "cocktail" (for Tom Dalzell's sin words). Both of these terms have been found in small parts, but--as often happens--I found other phrases as well. About a week or so ago I posted "druthers" and others. Here are some more terms. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- JESSES About a year ago I did the Americanism "Give 'em Jessie!" No book seems to record this "jesses." This is from the American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, "Falconry," March 1831, pg. 336: "A cap of leather, called a _hood_, is to be put on the hawk's head the moment he is taken. It is so constructed as to prevent him from seeing, but allows him to feed, and may be put on or taken off at pleasure; but to _hood_ a hawk (we are told) requires a degree of manual dexterity that is not easily acquired. Slips of light leather, seven or eight inches long and a quarter of an inch wide, are to be made fast to each of his legs. These are called _jesses_ (Plural? Is "jesse" singular?--ed.), and are to be fastened to a small swivel fixed to the end of a thong of leather three or four feet long, called a _leash_, so as easily to be detached from the swivel when the hawk is required to fly. The _jesses_ always remain on his legs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- DENNIS I haven't found this elsewhere, either. It's from October 1830, "Rail Shooting," pg. 68: "Ask pardon; I was only wondering how you could shoot without any locks." "The d---l you say--then 'I'm dennised.' So much for trusting careless servants, and not cleaning one's own gun;--the fellow has put the gun in the cover without the locks." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- PRAIRIE CHICKEN DARE asked about "prairie chicken." This OED antedate (they have 1840) is from August 1832, "On the Grouse of the Western and Northwestern Prairies," pg. 589: The French Creoles call them "des Phesants," the pheasants, or "poule de prairie," "prairie chicken," by which latter name, and "prairie hen," all the people of Illinois and Missouri still call them, and so little do they suppose there is another name for them, that a person would not be understood once in one hundred times, if he spoke of them under the name of grouse. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- DARE DEVIL In the edition of July 1831, pg. 567, are two interesting horse names. One is "Sky-Scraper" (OED has this horse name as its earliest "skyscraper" citation). Another horse name is "Dare Devil," foaled in 1787. OED has "dare devil" from 1794. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- LET OFF STEAM OED has "let off steam" from 1831, and the phrase refers to a steam engine. This is from April 1831, pg. 363: It was not well advised, then, in a friend of John Richards, instead of removing doubts, known to exist, as to the purity of that family, to have let "off the steam" in criminations of the gentleman who instituted the inquiry, through the columns of your Magazine.... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- NO GO This is not the first "no go," but it explains an origin for the term. An antedate can probably be found if I check the Sporting Magazine. This is from January 1831, pg. 218: They, as far as I can collect from their Sporting Magazine, start their nags, when the gentlemen jocks are ready; the consequence is, that those who have not a start to suit them, cry "_no go_"--and the usual results of these _no goes_, are numerous false starts--for _their effects_, vide the Leger for which Mameluke ran. Now _we_ say to the gentlemen jocks, you _must be_ ready when the signal is given; therefore, endeavor to get no more than a fair start, for if any unnecessary backwardness or any disposition to take an unfair advantage is seen, especial care will be taken you do not profit by it--or if you do for once, you will not be very likely to do so a second time. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- WALK SPANISH; DO THEMSELVES BROWN; FOR SARTIN; UP HUDDY; HOW ARE YOU OFF FOR SOAP?; DON'T CARE NOTHIN FOR NOBODY Supposedly "Walk Spanish" goes back to the 16th century, but the earliest citations turn up in the 19th century. He's part of a colorful article (with plenty of Americanisms) from January 1830, pg. 221: Coaches go thirty miles an hour without horses--men swallow poison by the ounce, and "do themselves (as well as the lookers on) brown" for a crown. It is worth the trial. You, Mr. Editor, have for SARTIN, some "right pert" ones down along that Eastern Shore of yours--and, _I guess_, we have some "tarnation cute" ones our way. (...) "How are you off for soap?" has been a common question among steamboat proprietors this summer. (...) As the ice is likely to render the track too dangerous to run the race out this season, and, as it is principally their own, and not the public's money they run for, they may divide stakes, or take "another hack" another year; and if that don't fix them, the devil's in it. "Grease your wheels and _walk_ Spanish" has been the go, but it would have been "up huddy" with the lot of them before this, had it not been for the liberal patronage, and _spirited_ support, of that very numerous and _respectable_ class, ycleped "rum customers." But I must "clap on a stopper" and "hark back," or I shall be "all abroad," upon this here same North river run. (...) By the by, Billy, (though he "hant no opinion of timin, and sich nonsense," and "don't care nothin for nobody," when he is "in for the plate,") is first rate in his way, and will no doubt be a valuable correspondent--the more especially, if he explains himself upon paper, (as to how he "tools the length into 'em" without "queering their pins") with the same precision and clearness he does when "wagging his clapper." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- PICKILARITIES From July 1831, "The Fox Chase," pg. 541: There never was a better horse than my horse Barney; and yet he has his "pickilarities," as Winfred Jenkins used to say, but not a bit of vice. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- OH DON'T! The "Not!" of the 19th century. I forget the source, and I can't find a reference book that explains it! From February 1831, pg. 288: As old Jefferson says in the play, "Oh dont!" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- GETTING USED UP FAST This--which I also can't seem to find anywhere--is from August 1831, pg. 602: As a Kentuck would say, "he was getting used up fast." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- GENU-INE DARE's earliest citation is 1843. I found this pronunciation popular throughout the 19th century. This is from September 1829, pg. 31 (title): A GENU-_INE_ DOCUMENT. The speaker also uses the phrase "that there line." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- GOT UP; GOT BY DARE has one 1827 "got up" reference; this is from September 1829, pg. 30: Since you have, at great expense, "got up" a Sporting Magazine.... And this "got by" is from April 1830, pg. 382: There is a most preposterous and wretched affectation creeping into our sporting tongue,* which has not even the merit of being good English. As such a horse is "sired" such another; or he was "sired" by Eclipse; for _got by_ Eclipse. (N.B. not _gotten_ by.) We shall read soon of colts and fillies _dammed_ by such and such mares. The true style of the Turf is, He was _got_ by Eclipse _out of_ Madcap. (The Irish say _on_ Madcap.) *Let the barbarous innovations be confined to the Senate and the Bar, but let us keep to our good old vernacular tongue. What should we say to "a _covey_ of wild geese and a _flock_ of partridges?" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------ I have more, and this is all from less than half a day!