HD: 1906 Words
Posted: 25 January 2012 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The latest batch.

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Posted: 25 January 2012 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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barfly, n.

I’ve always thought of barflies as being women, but evidently this is not so.

The exact opposite with me, I’ve always thought of them as male. (Jack Nicholson, for example, is the Barfly of the 1987 movie.)

re-up, v. To re-up is U. S. military slang for “to reenlist.” The up is a reference to raising one’s right hand to take the oath of enlistment.

That surprises me. I’d always assumed it was a reference to the up of sign up, ie to sign up again, to re-enlist.

[ Edited: 25 January 2012 07:39 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 25 January 2012 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Just a few proofreads:

rep, n.8 This particularly rep is the theatrical shortening of repertory.

This particular rep…

re-up, v. To re-up is U. S. military slang for “to reenlist.” The up is a reference to raising one’s right hand to take the oath of enlistment.

Does not “sign up” figure in to it?

yup, adv. I don’t have great confidence in the anyone’s ability,…

...in anyone’s…

Edit:  After having been pipped by the estimable aldiboronti on re-up, I’ll second his comment on barfly, adding that, at least during my Navy days, the feminine version was bar hog.

[ Edited: 25 January 2012 07:48 AM by Faldage ]
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Posted: 25 January 2012 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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lowbrow, n. and adj. This one is from 1906. Highbrow comes in two years later …

Well, “highbrow” as a noun - “highbrow” as an adjective the OED dates from 1884.

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Posted: 25 January 2012 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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lotta, adj. The colloquial contraction sees its way into published works.

Should read “colloquial contraction for lot of.”

re-up, v. To re-up is U. S. military slang for “to reenlist.” The up is a reference to raising one’s right hand to take the oath of enlistment.

I share in the general surprise at the etymology; what’s the evidence for that?  I don’t have access to the latest iteration of Green’s slang dictionary, but the Cassell version I have doesn’t give an etymology; the definition is “to re-enlist, join up again,” which suggests he derives it from “join up.”

suffragette, n. Women’s enfranchisement was a major political topic at the turn of the twentieth century, and suffragettes were the movements icons.

Typo: Should be “the movement’s icons” (with apostrophe).

Also, like aldi I’ve always thought of barflies as male, and I suspect that’s the case for most users of the term.  I wonder how you came by your sense that they were women?

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Posted: 25 January 2012 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I have to agree with aldiboronti, I thought “re-up” came from “sign-up” rather than up being a reference to raising the hand for the oath.

But then, I thought, what of “sign” itself in “sign-up”?

Etymonline suggests (in part):

sign (n.)
early 13c., “gesture or motion of the hand,” from O.Fr. signe “sign, mark, signature,” from L. signum “mark, token, indication, symbol,” from PIE base *sekw- “point out"…

.

In the paper/magazine, The Foundry, Volumes 9-10, Vol. 9, October, 1896, on page 82, there is an example of “side kick” appearing as two words rather than a hyphenated term:

books?id=84ZNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA82&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U3yM2NDDArh0vK3wSM0w_7s6dD3hQ&ci=491,1251,420,150&edge=0

It seems that horses will sometimes give a sly “side kick” to their own kind, donkeys, or mules if they don’t like proximity side-wise to a particular individual. I gather that it was quite common, and needed to be dealt with quickly if it was important to have the animals side by side. Of course, that’s mere speculation on my part.

.

Humorously, it appears that the page header typeface, or ‘font’ in The Foundry publication (linked above via the images) is similar in appearance to the well-known MS Comic Sans. Well, maybe not that similar, but still, a humorous thought.

[ Edited: 25 January 2012 10:13 AM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 25 January 2012 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Great stuff, Dave - thanks. I always find myself looking forward eagerly to the next year’s batch.

photovoltaic

Wouldn’t the use of photovoltaic light meters (in popular usage, they were often referred to as “photoelectric light meters") for photography qualify as “practical solar energy”, despite their small scale? I know they go back at least as far the 1930’s.

rep n.8

my guess is that this word could easily be antedated.

undies

In my mind, this term is associated with the works of Thorne Smith; perhaps mistakenly, by confusion with “scanties”—a word Smith used often, and which I’ve rarely, if ever, seen outside his writings. As a prurient schoolboy, I always got a mild frisson from reading delightful words like “undies” and “scanties”.
Ah, me. Where are the clo’es of yesteryear?

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Posted: 26 January 2012 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Lionello’s mention of scanties brings to mind the song Shuffle Off to Buffalo from 42nd Street and the lines:

I’ll go home and get my panties
You go home and get your scanties
And away we’ll go

The song is sung by a man to a woman, reminding us that panties were still an item of male attire at the time. One wonders when that changed. BTW those lines were changed for the British recordings of the time to the far less titillating:

I’ll go home and get my clotheses
You go get your these and thoses
And away we’ll go

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Posted: 26 January 2012 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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In Elements of Electro-Biology, or the voltaic mechanism of... by Alfred Smee, 1849, on page 15, there are several instances of “photo-voltaic”:

books?id=2JKJeU0feEsC&pg=PA15&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U2z9mLA6V0_7ALWSqNl2OSLudF9lg&ci=93,347,743,553&edge=0

Indeed, throughout the work, there are at least 12 pages with the term, including pages with multiple instances of the term. On page fourteen, the author states:

... Blood and nerve being present, we have to observe in what manner action can be excited; and we find that the usual stimulus to the eye is light. The question now naturally arises whether it be possible to make a Photo-Voltaic battery. In the chapter on Electro-Biology, I explained…

On subsequent pages, Smee details experiments leading to the production of current. Smee states, “Upon exposing the apparatus to intense light, the galvanometer was instantly deflected, shewing that the light had set in motion a voltaic current, which I propose to call a photo-voltaic circuit.”

Smee appears to have coined the term. What an interesting find, if so. Solar ‘cells’ demonstrated in 1849.

I suppose the hyphen was finally dropped around the time of the 1906 entry in the big dictionary?

.

Later, I saw in an article discussing Smee’s then-recent findings, that the hyphen was dropped in print the very next year. From Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, by William and Robert Chambers, 1850, page 277:

books?id=H7gCAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA277&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U0IzB05296NCxOU4CBh1-MABrZ-tA&ci=53,422,432,190&edge=0

.

Bio-engineering spoken of in 1850?

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Posted: 26 January 2012 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks for all the corrections. I kind of rushed this one out the door, and it showed.

As for my impression of barflies being women, I think it comes from the 1987 movie Barfly, which I haven’t seen. But the cover of the videotape box featured Faye Dunaway and it occupied a place right next to the door of the video store in Germany I frequented in the 1980s. I assumed the title referred to her, and not to Mickey Rourke (not Jack Nicholson, who evidently isn’t in the film).

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Posted: 26 January 2012 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Regarding lionello’s comments, I personally wouldn’t consider an application that only generated enough energy to tell you how much light was present to be “practical solar energy”, though if you can show me that the devices operated only on the energy of the measured light, without batteries, I might reconsider.  However, I strongly suspect that the early ones he mentions were not photovoltaic but photoconductive, using something like cadmium sulfide, which decreases its resistance (to an electrical current driven by an outside voltage source), rather than something like doped silicon, which actually converts light into electrical energy.

Edit: well, I had forgotten about selenium, which is photovoltaic.  Still, generating only enough energy to make a galvanometer twitch is not “practical solar energy” as most people would understand the term IMHO.

[ Edited: 26 January 2012 09:35 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 26 January 2012 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’ve no recollection as to whether my father’s light meter had batteries or not. But if it didn’t, then that would be a practical application of solar energy, after all - I don’t know why magnitude should alter the case (great trees from little acorns grow ;-).

(My wife complains I’m too literal-minded - if she asks me to go into the yard and fetch a couple of oranges from the tree, I will invariably bring two oranges, never more nor less. It’s an ingrained habit, as ancient as myself)

A book first published in 1935 describes a whole lot of practical applications of selenium cells, besides telling how to build your own:

http://www.archive.org/stream/PhotoelectricSeleniumCells/Fielding-PhotoelectricSeleniumCells#page/n3/mode/1up

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Posted: 26 January 2012 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I had, with my old Argus C-3 camera, a light meter that was powered by the light it was metering.  There was no battery.  Not exactly mid 19th century technology, but it was purely light powered.  Dunno if measuring the light that’s powering it to be a practical application of solar power or not, but there you have it.

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Posted: 27 January 2012 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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So the entry for re-up now reads “The up, according to the OED, is a reference to raising one’s right hand to take the oath of enlistment.” I’m still not satisfied, and I wonder where they’re getting it from.  At a minimum, it seems like it presupposes a verb up ‘to (raise one’s hand to) take an oath’; do they have such an entry?  If not, I suspect they may have ignored the obvious connection to “sign/join up.”

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Posted: 27 January 2012 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The OED etymology may have been influenced, perhaps unduly, by this citation:

1942 E. Colby Army Talk 174 When enlisting and being sworn in, a man is said to ‘hold up his right hand’ for three years. So when he does it after being discharged, he ‘re-ups’.

Elbridge Colby was a professor of English as well as being a colonel in the US Army (and, incidentally, the father of former CIA director William Colby) so perhaps this explanation deserves not to be dismissed as the ground-forces equivalent of a CANOE story.  OTOH, it was published about 40 years after the first attestation of “re-up”, so some skepticism is warranted.

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Posted: 27 January 2012 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yeah, if that’s the source of it I call it unforgivably lazy.  You don’t do etymology by taking the word of an English professor with no expertise in the field, even if he served in the military.

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