Someone wants the "Big Easy." I have an RHDAS antedate, but I have to

look through four years of stuff! (last trip--Feb. 1993) "Big Easy" dates

from the late 1960s.

In the meantime, here's a neglected article on slang that deserves


The Evening Telegram (NYC), 9 December 1874, pg. 1, col. 1. (the first

paragraph items will be given separate lines):




An Account of Some of Them in Local Use--Their Convenient and Abominable

Features--How They Originated and How They Have Been Perpetuated.

Then they would talk--

Good God, how they would talk!

Let us present a few specimens:

"What does Old Probabilities say?"

"Cheese it,"

"Tumble to a racket,"

"You know how it is yourself,"

"Bully boy with a glass eye,"

"Oh yes, I've been there,"

"That's the worst I ever heard,"

"That's what I told him,"

"What are you going to do about it?"

"Put a head on him,"

"Is that your little game?"

"You old duffer,"

"What a cheek,"

"Give us a rest,"

"That's what's the matter,"

"Let's take a smile,"

"Where's Tom Collins?"

"Gone where the woodbine twineth,"

"Like a Philadelphia lawyer,"

"He'd skin your very teeth,"

"He's no chicken,"

"He doesn't scare worth a cent,"

"There's a nigger in the fence,"

"Go for him,"

"Mind your eye,"

"George, I'll strike you like a real man,"

"George, I'll hit you with a feather,"

"Over the river (_au revoir_), George,"

"That's what my wife said,"

"There's music in the air,"

"Big Six,"

"He's got the stamps,"

"Red hot,"

"Go West, young man, go West,"

"Rip, slap, set him up again,"

"How is that for high?"

"It's a put up job,"


"He did his level best,"

"Loafing around the throne,"

"You're a nice young man,"

"You're too fresh,"

"You're altogether too new,"

"It's all the go,"

"Show me your man,"

"There's too many frills about him,"

"What a sport,"

"He knows what's what,"

"It's all O.K.,"

"Keep a stiff upper lip,"

"It won't wash,"

"Maniac water,"

"You lie, villain, you know you lie,"

"You lie for British gold,"

"Step up to the captain's office,"

"He's naughty, but he's nice,"

"I smell a mice,"

"He's so high toned,"

"Go it lemons,"

"Put a Mansard roof on him,"

"Don't put on an agony,"

"Whip the coon around the stump,"

"What's your hand?"

"High, low, Jack and the game,"

"Go it blind,"

"My gay and festive cuss," (Artemus Ward)

"Knee high to a grasshopper,"

"I think he's perfectly charming," (with marked accent on the charm, a young

ladies' phrase)

"Paddle your own canoe,"

"A big thing on ice,"

"Two can play at that game,"

"Like Muldoon, he is a solid man,"

"Willie, have you had your morning bounce?"

"Ann, going for a walk?"

"Oh, George, he is a charmer, oh,"

"Got a brick in his hat,"

"A nobby youth,"

"He's dressed to kill,"

"The bloated bondholder,"

"I'm in the same boat,"

"We'll take a whack at it,"

"Simmer down,"

"You've dropped something (?),"

"On the fly,"

"Don't give it away,"

"Shoot that hat,"

"That's all gammon,"

"Do you see any green in my eye?"

"Go it while you're young,"

"He'll laugh the other side of his mouth,"

"Have you seen the elephant?"

"Cut his tail off behind his ears,"

"Schware off," (Jefferson's "Rip Van Winkle")

"Draw it mild,"

"It's no go,"

"When the soup house moves away,"

"Go 'way, I'm a bad man,"

"Put me in my little bed,"

"That's too thin,"

"Oh, Keizer, don't you want to buy a dog?"

"I should smile if you didn't,"

"How does the land lay?"

"You can't most always sometimes generally tell,"

"Why is this thus?"

"We'll shake hands across the bloody chasm,"--Greeley (a phrase which

afforded a good opportunity during the last political and Presidential

campaign for the "small fry" politicans to "let off" their superfluous


"He slings a nasty pen,"

"Dead to rights,"

"Bring him to his oats,"

"Give him away,"

"His little bill,"

"Hang it up,"

"Lay him out," (a murderous phrase in use among the "Battle Row Gang")

"Keep cool,"

"Used up,"

"Quite some," (Western colloq)

"Oh, let it slide,"

"Soft soap" or "Sawder" (Sam Slick's favorite expression)

"Shine 'em up" or "Want a shine?"

The foregoing expressions are heard every day wherever the English

tongue is spoken or written. They are used by that shrewd observer of human

nature, its weakness and foibles--the street gamin, including the newsboy and

bootblack, the nattily dressed clerk, the fair and pretty school girl; while

even the banker, the broker and elegant professional gentleman employ them

because they are pithy and to the point, and come to the "mind's eye" when

more elegant and correct English fails to "come to time" at the critical

moment. (...)