Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996 10:11:21 -0500 From: Al Futrell Subject: Re: GAY (Changes to the English Language) Dave Maurer wrote about "gaycats" in the early forties in relation to the young boys who hung out with "junkers" and with "boxmen." Nels Anderson mentioned gaycats (I think) in his work on the hobo in the teens and early 20's. On data I used in my dissertation dating back to the first part of the 20th century I ran across the use of gaycat as the catamites kept by hobos and boxmen. Partridge mentions it in one of his dictionaries. The term is certainly not new. Referring to homonsexuals it has been used throughout the 20th century at least and probably even earlier. One problem with lexicography is that lexicographers often forget that a term is probably used for a long time before some journalist or egghead decides to write it down. Well, we frequently date things (granted, because there is no other way to do it) from the time they first appear in print. I have always thought this is screwy, but then I was a student of Dave Maurer's and he was a life long believer in the "living language" and thought that it was more fun, interesting, and important to study.... Al Futrell -- awfutr01[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] -- Dept of Communication -- University of Louisville