Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 11:40:19 +0000

From: Jim Rader jrader[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]M-W.COM

Subject: Re: skell yet again

Though I discovered on Nexis that skel was used in addition to

skell , if less frequently, I never went back to our old citation

file to check it out. (This is is the sort of sloppiness I criticize

other people for.) The following turned up:

"...'skels,' as the cops call big-city bums, come over from the

Bowery to roost and doze."

Thomas Conway, Headquarters Detective , Dunellen, N.J.

11 (8) Jan. 1955, p. 40

Headquarters Detective was a pulp crime magazine--I should say is:

amazingly, it's still published, up to, if I recall correctly, vol.

57, according to Library of Congress records. Someone--an outside

contributor, I think, though I would have to ask Gil--read pulp crime

magazines systematically in the 1950's and Merriam files owe much of

what he slang material of the period to this person. The handwritten

citation slip is actually dated October 27, 1954.

If skel(l) was current enough to get into 1950's crime fiction, I

don't even want to guess how old the word actually is.

Jim Rader