Buffalo
Posted: 19 December 2007 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Just heard this used as a verb in the move The Last Wagon. “I’m not a man that buffaloes easily.” OED has it:

buffalo, v.

N. Amer. slang.

trans. To overpower, overawe, or constrain by superior force or influence; to outwit, perplex. So {sm}buffaloed ppl. a.

1903 Cincinnati Enquirer 9 May 13/1 Buffaloed{em}Bluffed. 1904 N.Y. Even. Post 25 Oct. 10 All the rest [of the newspapers] were what we used to term in the Southwest ‘buffaloed’ by the McKinley myth{em}that is, silenced by the fear of incurring the resentment of a people taught to regard McKinley as a saint. 1910 W. M. RAINE B. O’Connor 77 O’Connor admitted that he was ‘buffaloed’ when he attempted an analysis of his unusual feeling. 1947 E. A. MCCOURT Flaming Hour 118 Jerry Potts himself would have been buffaloed.

I haven’t come across this before. It’s not marked as obsolete in OED but does the lack of a post-1947 cite mean that it’s rare these days?

BTW for those with access to online OED, there is a small symbol both before the word heading and before ‘buffaloed’ in the definition. (In the latter instance I’ve left the {sm} with which the symbol was replaced by my computer). I’ve checked the Symbols Guide in OED but can find nothing similar. Anybody know?

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Posted: 19 December 2007 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s in regular use in left-pondia. The verb calls to mind a herd of buffaloes coming toward you.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I concur with Oeco that the verb is alive and well over here.

Regarding the symbol aldi refers to, I’ve had no more luck than he in finding an explanation.  FWIW, when I look at the entry, I see the same symbol (an elevated, short, vertical line, rather like an un-curly single-quote mark in a san-serif font) in front of the headword also.

Edit: On a page entitled “Other Special Characters”, in a table called “Phonetic symbols”, it is identified as a primary stress mark, a familiar use, but that does not explain what it’s doing in this case, since it is not the normal practice for the OED to indicate stress in headwords or even in derivates, except as part of the full pronunciation.  The entries for buffalo as a noun and proper noun don’t contain such a mark.

It’s in the position where a status marker (such as a dagger for an obsolete word, or a pair of parallel lines for an non-naturalized foreign word) would go, but it’s not listed among the status markers in use.

[ Edited: 19 December 2007 10:37 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 19 December 2007 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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From a (very) brief review of OED entries, it appears that the editors place accent marks in the headword when they do not have a separate pronunciation section. In addition to ‘buffalo, v., there is also ‘budget, v and tre’pan, v.

The only examples I could find are verbs, but it may be that they just omit separate pronunciation sections when a entry is derived from another part of speech with its own entry and complete pronunciation listing, and the most common examples of this are nouns that have been verbed.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Talking of things buffalo (or rather Buffalo) that are unknown in Rightpondia - Buffalo wings ... I used to do a job where I had to read US restaurant trade magazines, and this was a menu item that confused me for a considerable time, especially as “menu English” goes in for Unnecessary Capitalisation. so I couldn’t be certain if they weren’t really buffalo wings, made from buffalo meat ...

One or two places in the UK with pretentions to Leftpondian style now serve them, and I see the term now has an OED entry, as from 2004, but I was amused by one of the citations:
2002 Philadelphia Inquirer Mag. 22 Dec. 23/3, “I even loved the high-class take on Buffalo wings, which opted for meaty drumstick ‘lollipops’ and a killer sauce with vinegar and spice.”

Buffalo legs?

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Posted: 19 December 2007 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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A previous thread on buffalo wings, touching on their origin and, by way of bonus, Jessica Simpson’s frontage.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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For US slang, you really want HDAS rather than the OED:

buffalo v. 1. Orig. West. a. to intimidate or frighten, esp. by means of mere bluff; to cow.
1891 Lummis David 84: The boy’s a good boy, ‘n’ he shain’t be buffalered while I’m ‘round. [...]

b. to confuse or perplex.
1896 DN I 413: Buffalo … To confuse, “rattle.” 1902 Remington Ermine 236: The Sioux had your wagon-train surrounded and your soldiers buffaloed. [...]

2. to allow oneself to be intimidated or bluffed.—used intrans.
1956 Grant & Dawes Last Wagon (film): I don’t buffalo easy!

I can’t help noticing the parallelism between to buffalo and to cow, which never occurred to me before.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No doubt some of you have heard of this…

Consider the sentence:
Cats that dogs chase chase dogs.

Quite often in English, we omit the “that”.

Cats dogs chase chase dogs.

What if they aren’t cats, but buffalo? What if they aren’t dogs, but buffalo? What if they aren’t chasing, but buffaloing (in the sense given in the OP)?

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

Now what if we wish to be more specific, and talk about buffalo that are from a particular town in the state of New York?

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

That’s just marvelous.

Buffalo that buffalo buffalo that are from Buffalo, New York, buffalo buffalo that buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

In the immortal words of D. P. Gumby, ”my brain hurts!”

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Posted: 21 December 2007 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Class OR :) Haven’t used a Laugh Out Loud smilie for ages but was called for there…

Shame the plural of cow is cows or we could have had five cows in a row ‘n all!

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Posted: 21 December 2007 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Before anybody else from Rightpondia says it:

Cowes cows Cowes cows cow cow Cowes cows

(Cowes is a seaside town on the Isle of Wight, most famous for the schoolboy joke: ‘What’s brown and steams and comes out of Cowes? The Isle of Wight Ferry’)

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Posted: 22 December 2007 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Gin a coo coo a coo
Comin thro’ the hay,
should a coo shoo a coo
an’ chase her a’ away?

Gin a coo meet a coo
comin thro’ the grain,
Gin she coo as pigeons do
The cooin’s a’ her ain.

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Posted: 22 December 2007 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Feeling paronomastically outclassed at the moment, I’ll just post my query to the OED and their reply, about the little mark:

What is the significance of the vertical accent-like symbol in entry for
“buffalo” as a verb?  It appears before the headword (in the location
where a status symbol would usually go) and before the derived form
“buffaloed”.  The only usage for this symbol that I can find documented
in the help pages is as a stress marker, but in my experience is not
your usual practice to put indicators of stress in headwords or
derivatives.

Thank you for your enquiry, which has been forwarded to me for reply.

The mark you ask about is a stress mark, in this case a superior or
primary stress.  Such marks are incorporated in some headwords: this is
a space-saving device which goes back to the first edition of the
dictionary, when the editors were under great pressure to keep the text
short.  It means that a separate pronunciation transcription is not
needed.

As part of the revision process we are dealing with all these oddities
of presentation - and of course the online dictionary does not suffer
from a shortage of space.

Margot Charlton
Oxford English Dictionary

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Posted: 22 December 2007 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thank you, Doctor Techie, for that lovely word, never before seen, heard or guessed at by this one-and-two syllable person!  “Paronomasia” sounds like one of those illnesses one speaks of in hushed tones........

Gynaecologist (to young patient, after examination): “Well, Miss G----, I must tell you you have acute vaginitis”.

Young patient (blushing prettily): “Why, thank you, Doctor!”

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Posted: 23 December 2007 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Thank you for resolving that, Doc. Constraints of space! That’s the last thing I would have imagined in such a massive project.

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Posted: 24 December 2007 09:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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So good that cows and buffalo became “ear-worms” for a couple of days until I passed it off to someone else.

Thanks also, Doc, for sending all the way to China for a new word:

The Shìmíng (Chinese: 釋名/释名; Wade-Giles: Shih Ming; “Explaining Names” or “Explanation of Names") is a Chinese dictionary that employed phonological glosses, and “is believed to date from c. 200 [CE]” (Miller 1980: 424). Its 1502 definitions attempt to establish semantic connections based upon puns between the word being defined and the word defining it, which is often followed with an explanation. For instance (chapter 12: 愛哀也愛乃思念之也), “Love (ài 愛 “love; like; be fond of") is sorrow (āi “哀 sorrow; grief; lament"). If you love, then you remember fondly.” The Chinese call these paranomastic glosses yínxùn (音訓; yin-hsün; “sound teaching"), meaning ”to use the pronunciation of a word to explain its meaning.” This semantic association of like-sounding words goes back to the “Rectification of Names” (zhēngmíng 正名, discussed under Confucianism), which hypothesized a connection between names and reality. The Shìmíng preface explains this ancient Chinese theory of language.

Wikipedia
(emphasis added)

[ Edited: 24 December 2007 09:14 PM by Iron Pyrite ]
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