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“and co”
Posted: 08 July 2007 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have heard this expression being used, pronounced as written, to mean “and friends”, “and family” or “and gang” as in “John and co are coming over”.  It obviously derives from “& Co.”, but the abbreviation seems to have taken on a new meaning away from the word it was abbreviating.  Has this happened to any other abbreviations?  Has anyone else come across this usage?

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Posted: 08 July 2007 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s an old usage, witness Rudyard Kipling’s book Stalky and Co, meaning Stalky and his chums.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wonder if that’s the origin of the usage.  (still OEDless)

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Posted: 08 July 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OED:

colloq. in phr. and Co.: and the rest of that set, and things of a similar nature or appearance.
1757 CHESTERFIELD Lett. IV. 92 He is resolved to make a push at the Duke of N., Pitt., and Co. 1848 A. H. CLOUGH Let. 4 Sept. in N.Z. Lett. of T. Arnold (1966) 114 She is terribly given to Maurice and Co.: and of the Co specially to Kingsley. 1896 G. B. SHAW Let. 16 Nov. in Ellen Terry & Bernard Shaw (1931) 124 How did it go? Not, like Cymbeline and Co., by dint of everybody in the theatre making believe..that they were witnessing a great work, but really. 1911 T. E. LAWRENCE Let. 26 Aug., I hope by quinine & co. to stave off any more attacks. [...]

So no, definitely not from Kipling originally.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve encountered the same usage with et al.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It is short for “and company”, right? It doesn’t mention that it is in the OED ref you gave us, LH. And, if that is the case, then is it possible to know how long ago the “& Co.” was first used in a company name.

[ Edited: 08 July 2007 02:10 PM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 08 July 2007 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I note that “Co” is capitalised and retains its full stop, up to the 20th century.

Edit PS: Do I take it from the OED entry that there is a word “co” outside this usage?

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Posted: 08 July 2007 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There is a Scottish dialect word, “unco” --- mostly used as an adverb meaning “unusually”, as in “unco guid”, and sometimes spelt with an apostrophe : unco’ --- perhaps an abbreviation of “uncommon, uncommonly”.

Like Eyehawk, I would love to know how long “and Co.” has been in use in the commercial sense.

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Posted: 09 July 2007 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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1759 is OED’s earliest cite for a company being known as ‘and Co.’ as a title, but Co specifically as an abbreviation for a commerical company (as opposed to a group of friends) appears in 1679 “We pay off our debts that if the Co: be broke nobody may be sufferers but those that are of it.”

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Posted: 09 July 2007 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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OED, company 7.b:

b. The partner or partners in a firm whose names are not included in the style or title; generally contracted to CO., COMP. Usu. in phr. and Company. Also transf. (cf. CO.3).
1569 Depos. John Hawkins in Arb. Garner V. 231 The said Sir William Garrard and Company, did also then provide, prepare, and lade in those ships much wares. 1677 Lond. Direct. (1878), Mr. Sherbrook, Company, with Mr. Clark in Cheapside. 1877 (title), A Catalogue of Standard Works published by Charles Griffin & Company. 1898 G. B. SHAW Our Theatres in Nineties (1932) III. 318 This.. is the distinction between Marlowe and Company and the firm of Beaumont and Fletcher. 1963 Listener 7 Feb. 261/3 The high-placed moderates on the Parliamentary side (Essex, Manchester, and company).

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Posted: 09 July 2007 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It’s an old usage, witness Rudyard Kipling’s book Stalky and Co, meaning Stalky and his chums.

Aldi, are you sure that it’s routinely pronounced “co” and not “company”, the former being the usage that bayard is asking about?  In the Gutenberg online text it’s always written as “Co.” except once when it’s spelled out in full as “Company”.  And even if people now routinely say it as “co”, how do you know that that’s the way Kipling would have said it?  (Similar questions apply to the OED citations, I suppose.  They give “kō” as the pronunciation [replacing their symbols with more familiar ones; to be exact they give “kəʊ"] for the entry LH excerpts, but it’s not clear to me how, or if, they know that it was pronounced that way in 1757.)

In the US, “Co.” in a business name is routinely pronounced as if spelled out in full.  Pronouncing it “co” would be considered a childish error or deliberate facetiousness, although “Company” often gets converted to “-co” when companies convert older names to more modern-seeming acronymic forms: Amoco, Sunoco, Norelco. The absence of the “co” pronunciation on this side of the pond may make it less “obvious” to me that all early uses of the abbreviated form would be pronounced this way.

[ Edited: 09 July 2007 07:31 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 09 July 2007 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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No, I’m not sure, now you mention it. I’ve always heard it referred to as co (rhyming with hoe) but I have no direct evidence of Kipling’s intent. One would have thought the abbreviated pronunciation in the phrase would have been well established by then. I have a vague memory of the phrase cropping up in a Gilbert and Sullivan work, which might be an indication, although not a certain one, given the freedom of poetic licence (and especially Gilbertian poetic licence).

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Posted: 09 July 2007 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dr. Techie - 09 July 2007 06:54 AM

In the US, “Co.” in a business name is routinely pronounced as if spelled out in full.

whereas on this side of the pond, AFAIK, it is always pronounced “koe”.  Of course, what muddies the waters historically is that originally a company was simply a group of like-minded people, whether they were in business together or not. (e.g. “The White Company, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

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Posted: 10 July 2007 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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FWIW, I remember asking my father in the 1950s how to say “& Co.”, and being told that it’s “and company”.

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Posted: 12 July 2007 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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"Geo” was short for “George” on British shop signs last century. “Moss Bros” were a High Street tailoring chain and they doubtless intended the rhyme in canny marketing mode. “Geo Canning & Bros” is possible but no one would pronounce it as written I’m sure.
In an earlier post I asked if “ie” “eg” “asap” “aka” &c should be used in conversation. If I saw “and co” I’d have to think especially as I have always said Stalky and Co as “co” in my head.

[ Edited: 12 July 2007 02:49 PM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 13 July 2007 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Similarly “Thos” for Thomas, and “Chas” for Charles were seen as short forms on shop fascias, although this latter one DID make it out into the wild as a genuine abbreviation, at least into BrEng (I believe there was also “Wm” for William).

Nobody’s yet mentioned “Ltd”, short for limited, of course, and a legal requirement at the end of your business name to show you were a limited liability company, eg Methuen and Co Ltd but I doubt anyone ever said aloud “Littuhd” or similar. Not without deliberately tryingt to be facetious, anyway.

However, I confess that if I’m reading, and sub-vocalising to myself, I do think “littuhd” for Ltd - and I also find myself turning “&” into “n” rather than fully realising it in my mind as “and”, so “Marks & Spencer” becomes “Marks n Spencer”, not “Marks and Spencer” ...

Maybe I should get out more ...

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