door prize
Posted: 02 August 2007 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am looking for the origin of the phrase “door prize”

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Posted: 02 August 2007 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome to wordorigins.  The OED says that the term originated in the US, and cites it back to 1884.  No etymology per se is give, but it seems straightforward enough: anyone in attendance at the event (i.e., anyone who had come in the door) had a chance to win the prize.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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According to the American Heritage Dictionary,this word originated between 1950-1955.And the meaning:a prize awarded at a dance, party, or the like, either by chance through a drawing or as a reward, as for having the best costume.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The AHD gives dates of origin?  This is news to me.  The online version sure doesn’t, and I don’t recall the print editions doing it either, though I don’t have one handy.

Anyway, if they say 1950-55, they’re mistaken.  The OED shows an 1884 usage from the New York Times:"21 Apr. 8/6 The door-prize of a watch every night has greatly interested the younger members of the congregation.”

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Posted: 03 August 2007 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The AHD gives dates of origin?

Nope, I’m looking at a print copy right now.  No dates.

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Posted: 03 August 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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That’s not the AHD4 definition, either. Maybe etymosgirl has her sources mixed up? Or it could possibly be an earlier edition, but as I recall even the first edition didn’t give dates.

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Posted: 03 August 2007 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I suspect this is her source.

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Posted: 03 August 2007 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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An astonishing coincidence, if not.  So it’s RHUD, not AHD. Either way, it’s much older than the 1950s.

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