Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 05:32:33 EST
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: OIC; lead pipe cinch; frou-frou; shyster

A few etymologies before I call it a night and get two hours' sleep.


Oh, I see. OIC. This is used on the internet all the time, but it is not
The Pittsburgh Evening Telegraph, 22 March 1875, pg. 2, col. 2:

His motto is "O I C." Not only does he see it, but everybody else
does.--_Home Journal_.

John Stockwell or 95 Ann Street, New York City, took out daily ads in the
New York newspapers in the 1870s for old newspapers, old pamphlets, and old
blank books and ledgers. (NY Evening Telegram, 18 June 1874, pg. 3, col. 2 is
one such ad.) The ads had "O (eye) C."
Perhaps it started there.


The latest RHHDAS doesn't have this. It's from THE SPORTING NEWS, 27
September 1890, pg. 4, col. 5:

A "lead pipe cinch" had its origin on an East river boat. A fat man
jumped overboard. A companion stood by and offered $1,000 to $10 that the fat
man would not bob up again to the surface. He was immediately taken up by
several sports present and then the boat hove to, but no sign of the fat man
appeared on the surface. He had gone hopelessly to the bottom. The stranger,
after pocketing the stakes, said that the fat man a few minutes before had
informed him he was going to commit suicide and showed him 100 pounds of lead
pipe coiled about his stomach.


OED has 4 June 1870. This is from the Pittsburgh Evening Chronicle, 3
February 1870, pg. 4, col. 3:

The French frequently increase their vocabulary, and the last new word
has, it seems, been adopted as the title of a play just now meeting great
attention. The correspondent of an English journal tells how the term
originated: "Paris is just now running after _frou-frou_. You may thumb the
dictionary in vain for the meaning of this word. Look at this picture by
Maismonier: a man at arms rests his musket at a prison door. Far in the back
ground a muffled woman furtively watches and stealthily but rapidly advances.
The soldier's quick ear has been caught by a sound. It is not that noiseless
foot-fall, but the rustle--the _frou-frou_--of her silken dress. By a
fanciful association the word has come to be applied to fast young ladies who
flash and rustle through their spring-time, and where passage, like that of a
meteor, is apt to be marked by a train of sparks."


I haven't checked the CHICAGO DEMOCRAT, but Library of Congress records
show it was published 1833-1846 by J. Calhoun, and 1846-1857 by John
Wentworth. As per the previous posting, the 1846-1857 CHICAGO DEMOCRAT by
John Wentworth must be checked, and this is too late for the origin of
"shyster"--which we have from 1843.
Nevertheless, if we have a "shyster" in the 1840s, and we have a
"shyster" case of slander from the 1870s, both must be investigated. You
never know.
For now, though, Gerald Cohen's dinner is safe. But hold that pasta!