Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 07:57:36 -0400

From: Margaret Ronkin ronkinm[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]GUSUN.GEORGETOWN.EDU

Subject: to streak



It's funny to feel that I'm history, but I don't mind sharing the

reply that I sent to Heather at Macalester.



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Dear Heather,



I am writing in response to your posting on _Linguist_, asking

for help with the etymology of "to streak". The information that I have

comes from the following source:



Partridge, Eric. 1984. A dictionary of slang and unconventional English...

Paul Beale (ed.). London, Melbourne, and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

p. 1165.



streak, v. occ. streek... To go very fast: 1768, 'Helenore' Ross, '═She▀

forward did streak';..., in late C.19, coll. Prob ex flashes of lightening.

The form "to streak it" is U.S. --2. By specialization, 'To scurry stark

naked through a public place or assembly as a form of protest against

some grievance' (R.S. 1974), or 'trying to prove a point, or out of sheer

exhibitionism' (P.B.); whence "streaking", the vbl n., and "streaker" one

who does this: s. in 1973; both nn. and v. were, by 1975, coll. and, by

1976, S.E. It was a phenomenon of the early 1970s, with subsequent echoes.



R.S. = Ramsey Spencer

P.B. = Paul C. Beale, editor of the present dictionary



***



I doubt that the term was invented at Mac, since this entry says

it was slang in 1973, and I was studying at Mac then; that's about when

streaking caught on there big time. If you check old (early 1970s) issues

of the _Mac Weekly_, you'll find write-ups on various humorous episodes.

(I'm proud/embarassed to say that I was involved/written up).



Thanks for making me feel sooo old, Heather, and good luck with

your research!



Maggie



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