Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 20:51:39 -0500 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Sin; Mr. Whiskers/Fuzz; Speakeasy; Hoochino; Spat Ah well, the ADS-L archives have been erased by BYU Engineering. Two years of work gone! F**K! S**T! P**S! On to "sin words." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- SIN This is from the Long Branch (NJ) Record, 29 May 1902, pg. 12, col. 6: What Is Sin? Recently a neighboring pastor was preaching to the children in our church, says a writer in The Homilietic Review. After asking many questions and impressing on the minds of the children that they must be saved from sin, he asked the question, "What is sin?" A bright little boy, six years old, quick as thought, replied, "Chewing, smoking, cursing and tearing your pants." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- MR. WHISKERS/THE FUZZ "Fuzz" for police appears in 1929 (RHHDAS); perhaps it's related to "Mr. Whiskers." RHHDAS has the latter from 1933 and states that it is suggested by the image of "Uncle Sam." A New York Times slang article of 27 March 1932 has Mr. Whiskers; Troops; Whacks; Ta-ta; Short; Gunsel; Nature-ray; Sneaker; To Y someone; and To go out in the country. Why does RHHDAS have this 1932 article for "gunsel" but not "Mr. Whiskers"--where 1932 would be the first citation? The article begins: GANGS COIN NEW SLANG DESPITE "MR. WHISKERS" Bearded Gentleman "Pat Whacks" on Capone, but the "Troops" Are Still "Nature-Ray" CHICAGO, March 26.--The fertile wits of gangland may not be earning much money these days what with Alphonse Capone in jail, but they go right on making language. One of the badlands that gave the nation such familiar phrases as "taken for a ride" and "on the spot" flows a continuous stream of new words and new usages for old words. Changing conditions with new demands on vocabularies, new symbolisms grasped by the gangster mind, or a mere need for terminological novelty have brought forth a number of so far unrecorded phrases in recent months. The principal linguistic departures are here summed up with their meanings: Mr. Whiskers--A general term for the Federal Government, especially its law-enforcement officers, as opposed to city police. (...) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- SPEAKEASY The Dictionary of Americanisms has an 1889 citation that reads, "Unlicensed saloons in Pennsylvania are known as "speak-easies." The term probably originated in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Press of 17 May 1899 has a front page cartoon of a "GAMBLING DIVE," which contains "POLICY. FARO. ROULETTE. SPEAKEASY. POOL. POKER." I can't find my other "speakeasy" and "blind tiger" citation from the 1890s. Anyway, I plan to go to Pennsylvania a week after the ADS meeting in January, and I'll probably come up with an antedate then. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- HOOCHINO Tom Dalzell also wants "hooch," but the RHHDAS has it right. This is from the Literary Digest, "The Lexicographer's Easy Chair," 17 September 1921, pg. 71, col. 1: "L. P.," Brooklyn, N. Y.--"What can you tell me of the origin of _hooch_?" _Hooch_ is a contraction of _hoochinoo_, a very powerful distilled liquor made from yeast, flour, molasses or sugar by the Indians of Alaska. For additional information, consult Emerson's "Beverages, Past and Present," volume 2, page 444. Actually, for additional information, consult the Alaskan word dictionary that was published in the 1980s. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- SPAT This amusing item was in the Long Branch (NJ) Record, 27 March 1903, pg. 5, col. 1: "SPAT" IS NOT SPITTING. Rockaway Justice Makes an Odd Ruling Interpreting Law. "Yer honor, he spat on the floor," said Policeman Sullivan to Magistrate Healy in the Far Rockaway Court when John Trumbull was arraigned, charged with violating the sanitary code. "Just spat?" inquired the magistrate. "Yes, he spat on the floor of the smoking car." "Well, if he spat he wasn't spitting," ruled the wise magistrate. "The law says 'spitting' is prohibited in public places. 'Spitting' is plural; 'spat' is singular. It don't give any punishment if a man merely spat. "Futhermore, a smoking car is not a public place. Women are admitted in public places, but they are not allowed in smoking cars, so a smoking car is not a public place. Trumball is discharged."