Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 22:38:00 -0400
From: "E. Wayles Browne" ewb2[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: cheap folks
Did any other people grow up hearing the pronunciation
/chIn'-chi/ for the word "chintzy," meaning 'stingy', rather than
I'm not sure how to represent this without IPA, and I apologize for the
eye-dialect. I say it with the obvious assimlatory process of two
affricates and I swear I've heard other people say it that way.
Although I have now (since this event happened) gotten corrected for my
I know that "chintzy" is in Webster's, but I was curious
about how widespread the usage is. This was a very common word when
I was growing up in the northern part of rural Louisiana, but
others in my age cohort (mid thirties) don't seem to use it.
I say chinchy. It means stingy. It's not the same as chintsy, which means
low-quality, cheap (about things). I'm from New England, near Boston, born
I always felt this was a New England word. However my father was originally
from Shreveport, LA, and it is barely conceivable that I heard the word from
him rather than from New Englanders.
"tight as Dick's hatband"
"poor as Job's turkey" (which was always weird to me because
turkeys are New World animals)
"handy as a pocket on a shirt"
Never heard any of these.
"sword of Damocles" (and don't anybody try and tell me *this* is
a quaint regionalism)
This is a frequent literary allusion.
Wayles Browne, Assoc. Prof. of Linguistics
Morrill Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853, U.S.A.
tel. 607-255-0712 (o), 607-273-3009 (h)
fax 607-255-2044 (write FOR W. BROWNE)
e-mail ewb2[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cornell.edu (1989 to 1993 was: jn5j[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cornella.bitnet //
jn5j[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cornella.cit.cornell.edu)