pot luck
Posted: 15 December 2011 11:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  53
Joined  2007-02-14

pot luck has two different meanings. when the words are together, and each stressed about evenly, the term means “you eat whatever we have ready”. Culinary Hobson’s choice.

second meaning:  when the word are together, and the first word is stressed, POTluck, it means a meal where every one brings a dish,, as in BYOB.

the first usage I get—the luck of what’s in the pot.

the second one I don’t; maybe people brought items for a soup or stew, and created “pot luck?

How/when did the terms diverge.

Here in LA, I never hear the first usage, but hear the second usage often.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 12:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  845
Joined  2007-03-01

The OED has the “whatever we find ready in the pot when we get home” sense from 1592, and the “contributory meal” sense from 1867. All the quotations it gives for the latter sense are American.

1867 N.Y. Times 13 Aug. 2/1 Simple mechanics, thinking of nought beyond their wages, their pot-luck and their ponies.
1924 Amer. Speech 4 420 Pot luck, food contributed by the guest. To take pot luck is to bring food with one to a party.
1926 Decatur (Illinois) Daily Rev. 9 Sept. 3/3 The group discussed the pot lucks and decided that the next meeting would be a similar one.
1978 Washington Post (Nexis) 18 Mar. a8 The bill‥would exempt fund-raising potlucks and bake sales from the Michigan Food Service Sanitation Act.
2001 U.S. News & World Rep. 29 Oct. 50/1 After prayers, they all gather for a potluck.

It’s my feeling that the second sense has still not really made headway here in Rightpondia: I understand it but it wouldn’t occur to me or anyone I know to use it. (My workplace is having just such a meal next Tuesday and nobody has dreamt of callig it that.) Funnily enough we don’t really have a term for a contributory meal at all, ever since picnic moved on and started to mean something else.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1197
Joined  2007-02-14

I grew up in Chicago and have lived in Boston, Mass, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Santa Ana, California and never heard the term pot luck used to mean whatever was in the pot until I came to upstate New York.  I have never heard a distinction made between the two meanings based on a difference in stress; it’s always been equal stress on pot and luck.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4812
Joined  2007-01-03

I’ve never noticed a difference in stress either.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

I never heard of potluck* meaning anything but coming and eating whatever there is. POTluck, as Reb Wlm defines it, sounds wholly American to me; could it possibly be a sort of conflation with potlatch?

Ed.: that should have beeen two words: “pot luck”.

[ Edited: 16 December 2011 01:11 PM by lionello ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1297
Joined  2007-03-21
lionello - 16 December 2011 12:57 PM

sounds wholly American to me; could it possibly be a sort of conflation with potlatch?

Wikipedia likes that idea as well.

Brings to mind radio host and humorist Garrison Keillor’s observation that the “myrrh” that one of the Magi brought to Bethlehem was actually a hamburger casserole (with a piece of masking tape on the bottom with his family name on it so that they get the pot back).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2011 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  710
Joined  2007-02-07
Oecolampadius - 16 December 2011 02:08 PM


Wikipedia likes that idea as well.

The Wikipedia entry seems contradictory.  ”To the Irish, a potluck was a meal with no particular menu. Everyone participating brought a dish for all to share.” Sounds like an “American” pot-luck to me.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2011 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4812
Joined  2007-01-03

Wikipedia etymologies, especially unsourced ones like this, are not to be trusted.

Regarding the potlatch connection, the OED says: “it is unlikely that this played any part in the development of this sense.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1231
Joined  2007-04-28

Anyone who knows better should change any dodgy wikipedia etymology so they keep getting better. It’s a communal thing!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4812
Joined  2007-01-03

I object to the “should.” Not all of us are in a position to correct a Wikipedia entry each and every time we find an error. Hell, I’d be doing it all day long. For those that have the time, that’s great, but don’t assume we all do.

Nor should advice on what to watch out for regarding dodgy resources be followed up with, “well why don’t you do something about it.”

And frankly, if I’m going to spend the time to carefully craft an etymology entry, I’m going to put it on my site, not someone else’s.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2011 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3538
Joined  2007-01-29

Yeah, it can be a lot of trouble to actually rewrite an article.  I’ll frequently just stick a [Citation needed] tag on and hope somebody else does the heavy lifting.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2011 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  821
Joined  2007-06-20
languagehat - 17 December 2011 04:53 PM

Yeah, it can be a lot of trouble to actually rewrite an article.  I’ll frequently just stick a [Citation needed] tag on and hope somebody else does the heavy lifting.

I’ve tried that approach, LH, and what can then happen is that someone puts in as the citation a source I KNOW is deeply dubious and doesn’t really substantiate the claim, and I really cannot be bothered to then rebut their source.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2011 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3538
Joined  2007-01-29

Yeah, that’s life/Wikipedia.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2011 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  26
Joined  2011-12-27

I’ve always seen pot luck as the result of a server sticking a ladle in a pot of stew and diners having to each put up with what they get or don’t get of the stew’s contents, as opposed to fishing around for a piece of meat, a turnip and a dumpling etc for each diner to end up with an equal plate.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2011 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3149
Joined  2007-02-26

Yeah, it can be a lot of trouble to actually rewrite an article.  I’ll frequently just stick a [Citation needed] tag on and hope somebody else does the heavy lifting.
---

When I do that, an image of Jimbo’s plaintive stare comes to mind ... “Et tu, Ordinarius?” ... so I have to go back and do the heavy lifting.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 December 2011 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  845
Joined  2007-03-01

I’ve always seen pot luck as the result of a server sticking a ladle in a pot of stew and diners having to each put up with what they get or don’t get of the stew’s contents

It’s a logical image to form in the mind’s eye on hearing the phrase. However, the history of the word is clearly against it.

Profile