HD: 1971 Words
Posted: 04 May 2012 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  5906
Joined  2007-01-03

Phreaks, boy toys, and REMFs

Posted: 04 May 2012 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  650
Joined  2011-04-10

I always thought “phreak” and “phreaking” came from a pun on “freq” and “freak” [and I see now, from “PHone"], as in the frequency 2600Hz made popular by Captain Crunch, one of the first “phone freaks” who “phreaked,” and probably the most famous phone hacker.



Could it be onomatopoetic, from the loud cry of the Great Green Woodpecker? From ”Within an hour of London town among wild birds and their haunts, by Denham Jordan, 1892, page 193:



“Yikes” also appears in The Short-Wave Mystery, by Franklin W. Dixon, 1945 (A Hardy Boy Mystery) --unknown page number, but appears on the beginning page of chapter two:

“Yikes! Save the springs!” Joe exclaimed. The jolting forced Frank to slow down. In the crisp autumn air, the trees were ablaze with color, but the Hardys were too preoccupied with the chase to enjoy the scenery.

[ Edited: 04 May 2012 05:19 AM by sobiest ]
Posted: 04 May 2012 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  1429
Joined  2007-02-14

superfly, adj. and n. Superfly means “excellent,” and is commonly found as a descriptor of drugs. The OED records it from 1971, and Gordon Parks, Jr.’s blaxploitation film Super Fly, about a cocaine dealertrying to quite the business, appears the following year.


Posted: 04 May 2012 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  4190
Joined  2007-01-29

Jones, v. Green’s Dictionary of Slang has the noun Jones “a drug user’s habit” from 1965, and by 1971 the verb to Jones “to experience heroin withdrawal symptoms, to crave” appears.

I see the OED spells it with a capital J, but I have never seen it spelled that way elsewhere, and it does not have a capital letter in any of my other dictionaries, including the Cassell Dictionary of Slang.  It may not even derive from the surname; the etymology is unknown.  I hope they change that in the third edition.

Posted: 05 May 2012 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Total Posts:  517
Joined  2007-10-20

gonzo, adj. and n. Hunter S. Thompson first uses gonzo to describe his style of subjective journalism, characterized by imaginative facts and exaggerated rhetoric, in 1971. How Thompson came upon the word is unknown, but it is probably from either the Italian gonzo ”foolish” or the Spanish ganso “goose, fool.”

The possibility of “gone-zo” doesn’t arise? Hunter S. was pretty far gone even in his heyday. In 1975 at UC Santa Barbara I had the pleasure of waiting an hour for him to show up at an advertized event where he was the sole speaker. When he finally arrived he was so thoroughly soused he couldn’t form sentences. What a joke.

phreak, n. (also phreak, v.) A phreak is one who uses an electronic device to get free phone calls. Phreak is a variation of freak, probably playing off phone, free call, and frequency as well. [cf. blue box]

It’s difficult to comprehend nowadays that people were really dedicated to screwing The Phone Company, as it seemed to be dedicated to screwing us. I knew a guy in Berkeley who was doing just that: making international calls for free from a phone booth by whatever secret means he used. One time the beeps on the phone didn’t sound right so he hung up and started to walk away ... just as a police car screamed up to the corner where the booth was. Those were the days.

yikes, int. Undoubtedly this one is older, but the OED has it from 1971. [Sobiest has antedated this one by several decades.]

Gosh, wasn’t this a staple of Archie Comics? I’m still trying to decide between Veronica and Betty. Or was that Lana and Lois, or am I thinking of Ginger and Mary Ann? Anyway, good on ya, Sobiest.