Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 10:20:49 -0500

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: Re: skinny marink?

As a spinoff of a conversation with Ellen Prince, I thought I'd try to pin

down the boundaries of the above lexical item (region and approximate year).

For me, at least, it's a childhood term from the 1950's in New York, where

I remember it being stressed only on the first component, so I'm just guessing

the two final unstressed syllables are spelled in the indicated fashion. I

couldn't locate it in either DARE or Lighter's Random House historical slang

dictionary for the obvious reason that neither has put out M's (let alone S's)

yet. Anyone else remember skinny marinks?

First of all, the usual form appears to be _skinnymalink,_ and is found

thusly in Dialect Notes IV 280; American Thesaurus of Slang 429.6; and

OED2 from 1892 identified as Scots with numerous Scottish citations. A

quick query of several people raised in New York in the 1930s-1950s

reveal that they all know the -malink form only.

The only citation we have for the -marink form in the HDAS files

is from 1954, in a novel set in New York.

If we do enter the term (we might simply decide it's dialect but

not slang), it will be under "s," since we've never encountered

the second element independently.


Jesse Sheidlower

RH Historical Dictionary of American Slang