living large
Posted: 11 October 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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"Living large” is an expression I associate with hip-hop culture, but I wonder if it ever found favor in the less recent past?

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Posted: 11 October 2013 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The OED has these early citations:

1834 W. G. Simms Guy Rivers I. viii. 102 He did have a power of money.., but they did say he was going behind hand, for he didn’t know how to keep what he had. He was always buying, and living largeā€”but that can’t last for ever.
1868 R. Browning Ring & Bk. I. iii. 185 Let him share the mat with the mastiff, he Who lived large and kept open house so long.

Somehow Robert Browning and hip-hop just don’t go together, but the phrase seems to have arisen in Britain and remained current in African-American usage through the late-twentieth century.

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Posted: 11 October 2013 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Dave. I suspected that it could have been older than current use.

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Posted: 12 October 2013 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Actually, of all the Victorian poets I suspect Robert Browning is the one most likely to have enjoyed hip-hop; he uses slangy expressions freely and loved vibrant, expressive language.

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Posted: 12 October 2013 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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But he wasn’t hip to the bugging slang of the youth of his day, as is evident by his use of twat.

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