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Gunslinger
Posted: 01 March 2017 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Logophile - 01 March 2017 12:23 AM

aldiboronti - 27 February 2017 05:54 AM
OED has the following as its earliest cite.

1953 in H. Wentworth & S. B. Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang (1960) 236/1 The gun-slinger will spend..his life behind bars.

Going to the Corpus of Historical American English (thanks to Dave for reminding me of this database and COCA) I see it has a much earlier cite.

1932, Robbers Roost (fic) “ he replied, sadly.

I’m only a wandering rider—a gun-slinger and—a member of a gang of robbers. And I was mad enough ....

I shall certainly be supplementing OED and the other reference sites I use with these two in future and it’s so refreshing to see that they are freely available to all.

To save my life, I could not find the quote “I’m only a wandering rider--a gun-slinger and--a member of a gang of robbers...” on COHA. I clicked on search and on the number below 1930, but I did not see the quote.

Clicking on the number below 1930 should bring up all the 30s cites, in this case just one, that of 1932. I’m not sure why it’s not working for you. Perhaps you need to be registered although I didn’t think so. Try clicking on gunslinger itself, that should bring up the whole range of cites.

[ Edited: 01 March 2017 04:41 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 01 March 2017 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Aldi, are you sure that quote is from COHA? When I go there a different quote is presented. The quote you cite is indeed from Robber’s Roost, but it’s not the one one that COHA presents, at least not to me. It’s doubly odd because according to search on Google Books, gunslinger appears twice in that book. Typically COHA will record multiple hits for the same work. It should have both quotations.

The one that I see is:

Not on!… Smoky, do you recollect thet gambler, Stud Smith, who works the stage towns an’ is somethin’ of a gunslinger?

The quote you cite is the one given in Green’s.

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Posted: 01 March 2017 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Now that is decidedly odd and I’m not quite sure how it happened. I see the quote you see now. But then where did I get the other one? I don’t have access to Green’s. Searching the net (and this is the first time I’ve done it for this word) I see the phrase turns up on Google books and a couple of other places. But none of them curtail it in the same manner as the one I copied and pasted from wherever. I remember wondering what came after the ‘and I was mad enough ......’. The Google book site resolves that for me but does nothing to help identify from where my cite came. Obviously there are two cites in Robbers’ Roost for the word, I’m wondering whether the COHA search engine sometimes finds one, sometimes the other. Unlikely, but otherwise I am mystified.

ETA sent an email to COHA to ask their help.

[ Edited: 01 March 2017 11:29 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 01 March 2017 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I’ve figured it out. One is gun-slinger and the other is gunslinger. COHA treats them as separate words.

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Posted: 01 March 2017 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Dave Wilton - 01 March 2017 11:42 AM

I’ve figured it out. One is gun-slinger and the other is gunslinger. COHA treats them as separate words.

For this relief much thanks! I thought senility finally had me in its clutch for a moment.

ETA Just seen that Mark Davies, Professor of Linguistics at Brigham Young University, promptly and kindly replied to my email and told me the same thing.

[ Edited: 01 March 2017 05:00 PM by aldiboronti ]
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