Raspberry
Posted: 23 January 2018 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Now that the annual Razzies are upon us again (Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lawrence will be hard to beat) I decided to check out the derisory use of the term. I had thought it Cockney rhyming slang, raspberry tart = fart, (or heart it would seem), but although OED has an entry for this it does not connect it to sense 4a, “colloq. A sound made by blowing with the tongue between the lips, suggestive of breaking wind; esp. used as an expression of mockery or contempt. Now frequently in to blow a raspberry.” The earliest cites for both are close, 1890 and 1902 respectively, and it’s tempting to link them but I won’t venture where OED dared not tread.

BTW a question anent the first cite for raspberry.

1890 in A. Barrère & C. G. Leland Dict. Slang (1890) II. 171/1 The tongue is inserted in the left cheek and forced through the lips, producing a peculiarly squashy noise that is extremely irritating. It is termed, I believe, a raspberry, and when not employed for the purpose of testing horseflesh, is regarded rather as an expression of contempt than of admiration.

“when not employed for the purpose of testing horseflesh”. Say what now?

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Posted: 23 January 2018 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve no clue about what the citation means, but Green’s Dictionary of Slang does give the origin as raspberry tart.

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Posted: 23 January 2018 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The only times I’ve heard the term ”giving the raspberry” was associated with baseball. I first heard the term from Dizzy Dean or Peewee Reese back in the 50’s when they were announcing TV games. I believe it was mostly used against the umpire for what the fans perceived as a bad call. I haven’t heard it used in other sports.

[ Edited: 23 January 2018 06:00 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 23 January 2018 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The description (in aldi’s citation) of how the sound is produced does not conform to my experience in modern times, in that in the normal raspberry as I have seen and done it, the tongue is held between the lips, not inserted into the cheek.

The latter sounds a little more (still not very much) like the way I imitate a horse nicker; I wonder if the citation is describing a way of testing a horse’s reaction to that noise, by way of seeing if it is deaf, exceptionally skittish, etc.

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Posted: 23 January 2018 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave Wilton - 23 January 2018 05:11 AM

I’ve no clue about what the citation means, but Green’s Dictionary of Slang does give the origin as raspberry tart.

Urban dictionary has that as well. But the one that gets the most votes (of course) is worthy of WG.

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Posted: 23 January 2018 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I too thought the tongue in the cheek method was puzzling. In fact I spent several minutes in attempting to produce a satisfactory raspberry with the tongue in the left cheek but failed miserably. Perhaps there’s a lost art to it. The horse nicker is interesting, it certainly beats anything I can come up with.

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Posted: 24 January 2018 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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aldiboronti - 23 January 2018 02:24 PM

I too thought the tongue in the cheek method was puzzling. In fact I spent several minutes in attempting to produce a satisfactory raspberry with the tongue in the left cheek but failed miserably. Perhaps there’s a lost art to it. The horse nicker is interesting, it certainly beats anything I can come up with.

It doesn’t just say “tongue in the cheek”, it says, “The tongue is inserted in the left cheek and forced through the lips”.

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Posted: 24 January 2018 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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True but it doesn’t really clarify things. The tongue certainly is forced through the lips but I can’t see how the initial position of the tongue in the cheek contributes anything at all to the noise Ah Lionello, you are sorely missed! Even had his wide range of experience not cast light on these matters he would surely have penned a fitting ditty.

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Posted: 24 January 2018 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I remember learning that it was rhyming slang and had thought before that that it was something to do with a rasping sound though that is a bit harsh compared to the sloppy lip sound perhaps.

Ian Dury uses a lot of rhyming slang in his song Blackmail Man which is about bigotry and racism; raspberry ripple = cripple (Dury contracted polio as a child and had to wear a caliper for his whole life. Raspberry Ripple is a popular kind of ice cream).

I’m an Irish cripple, a Scottish Jew, I’m the blackmail man
A raspberry ripple, a buckle-my-shoe, I’m the blackmail man
I’m a dead-fish coon, a pikey Greek, I’m the blackmail man
A silvery spoon, a bubble and squeak, I’m the blackmail man

Well, I’m the blackmail man and I know what you do
Every one of you, I’m the blackmail man
You make me sick, make me Tom and Dick
Put the black on you, I’m the blackmail man
Blackmail man

I’m a Paki, Chink, a half-cocked ponce, I’m the blackmail man
A tiddly-wink, a Charlie Ronce, I’m the blackmail man
I’m a nonced old tramp, a bent-up drunk, I’m the blackmail man
A paraffin lamp, an elephant’s trunk, I’m the blackmail man

I’m the blackmail man and I think you stink
You pen and ink, blackmail man
I hate your guts, your Newington Butts
I’ll put the black on you, I’m the blackmail man

Hampton Wick, parrafin lamp, Frazer-Nash, pony and trap

etc.

As you can see, he thoughtfully explains the rhymes. Ponce is explained here. Paraffin is kerosene. Any ideas about the ‘dead-fish’ part of ‘dead-fish coon’? Pikey is a word I first came across in Guy Ritchie’s film Snatch probably because of my middle-class upbringing. The last line is prick, tramp, slash (urinate/old sports car), crap. This is getting a bit niche and tiresome!

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Posted: 24 January 2018 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The Wikipedia entry for pikey is pretty awful. For one thing, there is no verb pikka in Old English. The first giveaway is that the letter k wasn’t used in OE. The second giveaway is that infinitive forms in OE end in -an. There is an OE verb pican, meaning to pick, but it doesn’t carry the meaning of to steal as the Wikipedia entry says.

The OED (March 2006) says it comes from pike, as in a road, turnpike. The original form is pikey-man, one who travels. It dates to 1838. Green’s Dictionary of Slang concurs.

The verb to pick did acquire a sense of to steal in the Middle English period, but this doesn’t seem to be the origin of the slang term pikey.

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