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suze
302100.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:20 am Reply with quote

I'm anticipating that "There he/she goes with his/her eye out" might be the next phrase to figure here. It sounds a bit rude, but it's not clear to me what it actually meant. (EDIT - so it was. I too have the book which is Mat's source!)


As for quoz, the OED cites it back to 1790 - an account of a slanging match between two newspapers claimed that "Mr World might retort that Mr Herald was a Quoz, and a low print". For etymology, it can do no better than "apparently a fanciful formation" - i.e. someone just made it up.

 
MatC
302105.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:24 am Reply with quote

After “mangle” came “Flare up!”

This one, Mackay says, “enjoyed a more extended fame, and laid its foundations so deep, that years and changing fashions have not sufficed to eradicate it. [...] it is, even now, a colloquialism in common use.”

It arose, he says, during the Reform riots in Bristol, when that city was half-burned by rioters:

Quote:
The flames were said to have flared up in the devoted city. Whether there was anything peculiarly captivating in the sound, or in the idea of these words, is hard to say; but whatever was the reason, it tickled the mob-fancy mightily, and drove all other slang out of the field before it. Nothing was to be heard all over London but "flare up!" It answered all questions, settled all disputes, was applied to all persons, all things, and all circumstances, and became suddenly the most comprehensive phrase in the English language. The man who had overstepped the bounds of decorum in his speech was said to have flared up; he who had paid visits too repeated to the gin-shop, and got damaged in consequence, had flared up. To put one's-self into a passion; to stroll out on a nocturnal frolic, and alarm a neighbourhood, or to create a disturbance in any shape, was to flare up. A lovers' quarrel was a fare up; so was a boxing-match between two blackguards in the streets, and the preachers of sedition and revolution recommended the English nation to flare up, like the French.


Quote:
So great a favourite was the word, that people loved to repeat it for its very sound. They delighted apparently in hearing their own organs articulate it; and labouring men, when none who could respond to the call were within hearing, would often startle the aristocratic echoes of the West by the well-known slang phrase of the East. Even in the dead hours of the night, the ears of those who watched late, or who could not sleep, were saluted with the same sound. The drunkard reeling home showed that he was still a man and a citizen, by calling "flare up" in the pauses of his hiccough. Drink had deprived him of the power of arranging all other ideas; his intellect was sunk to the level of the brute's; but he clung to humanity by the one last link of the popular cry. While he could vociferate that sound, he had rights as an Englishman, and would not sleep in a gutter, like a dog! Onwards he went, disturbing quiet streets and comfortable people by his whoop, till exhausted nature could support him no more, and he rolled powerless into the road.


Quote:
When, in due time afterwards, the policeman stumbled upon him as he lay, that guardian of the peace turned the full light of his lantern on his face, and exclaimed, "Here's a poor devil who's been flaring up!" Then came the stretcher, on which the victim of deep potations was carried to the watchhouse, and pitched into a dirty cell, among a score of wretches about as far gone as himself, who saluted their new comrade by a loud, long shout of flare up!


One would-be entrepreneur started a weekly paper with that title - but his timing was out, the phrase was becoming old fashioned, and both “the phrase and the newspaper were washed into the mighty sea of the things that were.”

Mackay concludes: “It is now heard no more as a piece of popular slang; but the words are still used to signify any sudden outburst either of fire, disturbance, or ill-nature.” As, indeed, they are in our own time.

S: as above.

 
Flash
302107.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:29 am Reply with quote

Actually it's rather a good title for a weekly paper - time to revive it, maybe.

 
MatC
302110.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:32 am Reply with quote

Mackay then lists “Does your mother know you're out?” which is one that certainly has been used within my lifetime - whether it lasted all that time, or came and went, I don’t know.

Mackay says a cabbie who asked this of a passenger - not realising the man was a lord - was fined by the magistrates for his impertinence.

Next came “Who are you?”

Quote:
One day it was unheard, unknown, uninvented; the next it pervaded London; every alley resounded with it; every highway was musical with it.


Quote:
The phrase was uttered quickly, and with a sharp sound upon the first and last words, leaving the middle one little more than an aspiration. Like all its compeers which had been extensively popular, it was applicable to almost every variety of circumstance.


Quote:
Every new comer into an alehouse tap-room was asked unceremoniously, "Who are you?" and if he looked foolish, scratched his head, and did not know what to reply, shouts of boisterous merriment resounded on every side. An authoritative disputant was not unfrequently put down, and presumption of every kind checked by the same query. When its popularity was at its height, a gentleman, feeling the hand of a thief in his pocket, turned suddenly round, and caught him in the act, exclaiming, "Who are you?" The mob which gathered round applauded to the very echo, and thought it the most capital joke they had ever heard -- the very acme of wit -- the very essence of humour.


Quote:
Another circumstance, of a similar kind, gave an additional fillip to the phrase, and infused new life and vigour into it, just as it was dying away. The scene occurred in the chief criminal court of the kingdom. A prisoner stood at the bar; the offence with which he had been charged was clearly proved against him; his counsel had been heard, not in his defence, but in extenuation, insisting upon his previous good life and character, as reasons for the lenity of the court. "And where are your witnesses?" inquired the learned judge who presided. "Please you, my Lord, I knows the prisoner at the bar, and a more honester feller never breathed," said a rough voice in the gallery. The officers of the court looked aghast, and the strangers tittered with ill-suppressed laughter. "Who are you?" said the Judge, looking suddenly up, but with imperturbable gravity. The court was convulsed; the titter broke out into a laugh, and it was several minutes before silence and decorum could be restored. When the Ushers recovered their self-possession, they made diligent search for the profane transgressor; but he was not to be found. Nobody knew him; nobody had seen him. After a while the business of the court again proceeded. The next prisoner brought up for trial augured favourably of his prospects when he learned that the solemn lips of the representative of justice had uttered the popular phrase as if he felt and appreciated it. There was no fear that such a judge would use undue severity; his heart was with the people; he understood their language and their manners, and would make allowances for the temptations which drove them into crime. So thought many of the prisoners, if we may infer it from the fact, that the learned judge suddenly acquired an immense increase of popularity. The praise of his wit was in every mouth, and "Who are you?" renewed its lease, and remained in possession of public favour for another term in consequence.


S: as above.

 
MatC
302111.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:38 am Reply with quote

I’ll end with two more of Mackay’s crazes, both of which are familiar - in a sense - today:

Quote:
Whether it was another song or a slang phrase, is difficult to determine at this distance of time; but certain it is, that very shortly afterwards, people went mad upon a dramatic subject, and nothing was to be heard of but "Tom and Jerry."


Quote:
It was next thought the height of vulgar wit to answer all questions by placing the point of the thumb upon the tip of the nose, and twirling the fingers in the air. If one man wished to insult or annoy another, he had only to make use of this cabalistic sign in his face, and his object was accomplished. At every street corner where a group was assembled, the spectator who was curious enough to observe their movements, would be sure to see the fingers of some of them at their noses, either as a mark of incredulity, surprise, refusal, or mockery, before he had watched two minutes. There is some remnant of this absurd custom to be seen to this day; but it is thought low, even among the vulgar.


S: as above.

Just a thought - and one that belongs in “Format” - but how about, instead of buzzers, for one show, panellists being assigned the twirly fingers on the nose, the quoz, the mangle, the Tom and Jerry ... ?

 
Jenny
302153.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:54 am Reply with quote

I remember suddenly discovering the then-fashionable phrase 'no way' when I first moved down to London in 1973 and was working in an advertising agency. I had never heard it before, but it was the phrase du jour for quite a while.

 
suze
302171.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:28 am Reply with quote

Was the appended "Jose" known in Britain by then?

In North America, he's been on the end ever since I can remember, but he may have taken a while to cross the Atlantic.

 
Jenny
302178.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:34 am Reply with quote

Yes I think it was.

 
MatC
302898.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:07 am Reply with quote

On the matter of long hair - Fidel Castro has calculated that “by not shaving he gains about ten working days each year.”
S: Cuba Si magazine, Winter 2007-08

Have to say, that sounds rather a lot to me - unless he’s a fantastically slow shaver.

 
dr.bob
302910.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:27 am Reply with quote

That does seem to imply he would spend nearly 40 minutes shaving every day. This seems excessive, even if US blockades are depriving him of disposable razors.

 
suze
302913.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:31 am Reply with quote

It does, although if you take "working day" as eight hours, you then arrive at a figure of 13 minutes per day. Which seems altogether more realistic.

 
dr.bob
302936.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:07 am Reply with quote

Are we really to believe that Il Presidente only worked for 8 hours a day while Mrs Thatcher was surviving on only 4 hours sleep a night? :)

 
MatC
302945.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:20 am Reply with quote

I am quite sure that the commander in chief worked longer hours than the Iron Lady!

Perhaps - he is quite a hairy fellow, after all - he used to shave twice a day? Mind you, 20 minutes each is still pretty steep.

 
Flash
303010.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote

What faux pas got the Duke of Wellington chucked out of his club in 1814?

(on edit: this post originally alluded to the Grand Old Duke of York, but it ought to have said Wellington and I've edited it accordingly - see posts below)

Wearing trousers.

Trousers (as opposed to breeches) were considered a disreputable fad in the early 19th Century, an innovation attributed by some to Beau Brummell. The fad was resisted, of course: Trinity College Cambridge had a rule that any student in trousers was to be deemed absent and the clergy of Sheffield were issued with the edict that "under no circumstances whatsoever shall any preacher who wears trousers be allowed to occupy a pulpit". The Duke of Wellington was excluded from his club for wearing a pair, which is a rather remarkable thing as he was a national hero who had just been made a Duke following the Peninsula War.

Trousers (and boots, for that matter) were outlawed in Rome in April 397 (and again in June, so it seems the first ban didn't work); the punishment for being caught with either was exile. In modern times attempts have been made (in Louisiana and Virginia) to legislate against the current fashion of wearing trousers slung very low. They haven't succeeded in becoming law (except perhaps in the town of Delcambre, Louisiana by local ordinance). One complication is that the fashion is particularly prevalent amongst black youths, so forbidding it might be characterised as racist.

Deuteronomy 22:5 forbids trousers to women altogether (perhaps - it's cross-dressing in general that's the abomination):
Quote:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.


Last edited by Flash on Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:11 pm; edited 3 times in total

 
MatC
303021.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:34 am Reply with quote

Why is LORD in capitals? Is it an acronym, do you think?

 

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