Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 07:57:36 -0400 From: Margaret Ronkin 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. ________________________________________________________________________ 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 ________________________________________________________________________