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DIBS

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DIBS

Postby tcward » Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:00 am

The latest Saturn automobile commercial here in the U.S. has potential customers, upon hearing the news that they would receive the same discount as Saturn employees, running for their favorite models on the lot, shouting "Dibs!"

I looked up some history of this word, first at the Word Detective:

It seems that this use of "dibs" is not nearly as old as one might have thought. The first citation for the "it's mine" sense of "dibs," in fact, comes only from 1932, although "dibs" was used as slang for "money" as early as 1807. "Dibs" was an abbreviation of "dibstones," a game similar to jacks played with "dibs," which were sheep knuckle bones. It is unclear exactly how "dibs" came to be a child's way of staking a claim, but presumably it made sense if you knew the rules of the game of "dibs."

...

...a fascinating list of the British equivalents. A child in Southern England who spots the one cookie left on the plate might exclaim "Bags it" or "Baggsy," whereupon by the sacred code of children the prize is hers. Her London counterpart might say "Squits," and still further north a child would say "Foggy," "Furry" or "Firsy." Other words which seem to work as well include "Barley," "Bollars," "Jigs" and, in Scotland, "Chaps" or "Chucks." We will probably never know where these words came from...


Michael Quinion's World Wide Words states, in part:

There are various other meanings of dib, as both noun and verb, which has had a muddled history in which dab and dap feature strongly as variant forms. But none of these have any obvious link to the word in the sense you’re asking about. As an example, in older northern English dialects it meant a depression in the ground, possibly a variant of dip, as here in John Galt’s The Annals of the Parish of 1821: “The spring was slow of coming, and cold and wet when it did come; the dibs were full, the roads foul, and the ground that should have been dry at the seed-time, was as claggy as clay, and clung to the harrow”.

Yet another suggestion is that the word is a modified abbreviation of division or divide. This neatly circumvents the problems with provenance, and fits the model of many children’s slang terms of this and earlier periods. But I’ve not come across any evidence for it.


-Tim
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Postby tcward » Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:04 am

Dibs on first reply.

There is also an interesting entry on this word on the Wikipedia free online encyclopedia.

-Tim
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Postby KatyBr » Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:58 am

My favorite is "same places" we have one chair in the living room that's eevery one's favotite......

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:40 am

Brazilian dude wrote:Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld is in the house: . . .

. . .

Brazilian dude


Nice quotes! I liked this one, BTW:

...You can measure distance by time. "How far away is it?" "Oh about 20 minutes." But it doesn't work the other way. "When do you get off work?" "Around 3 miles."


(Which reminds me, I have to chide Dr. GoodWord on his use of teraflop, a measure of computer instruction execution, as a measure of time. That's as bad as the cartoon I once saw of an astronaut in a space capsule sending a message: "Honey, don't wait on dinner. I'll be a few light-years late." A light-year, of course, is a measure of distance, not time.)
Regards//Larry

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Postby anders » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:46 am

Stargzer wrote:A light-year, of course, is a measure of distance, not time.)

My father, the sea-captain was of course unusually skilled in measurements of length and time. He must have been one of the last to use his sextant to verify the electronic readings of the Decca system.

Whenever there was a possiblity, he used "light-years" as if it were time, so I learned at a very tender age that it was about distance.

A dog will stay stupid. That's why we love them so much. The entire time we know them, they're idiots. Think of your dog. Everytime you come home , he thinks it's amazing. He has no idea how you accomplish this every day. You walk in the door, the joy of this experience overwhelms him. He looks at you, HE'S BACK, IT'S THAT GUY, THAT SAME GUY. He can't believe it. Everything is amazing to your dog. ANOTHER CAN OF FOOD? I DON'T BELIEVE IT.

The most amazing thing is that we fall for this con trick every time. Clever dogs.
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:15 pm

anders wrote: . . .
Whenever there was a possiblity, he used "light-years" as if it were time, so I learned at a very tender age that it was about distance.

. . . Everytime you come home , he thinks it's amazing. He has no idea how you accomplish this every day. You walk in the door, the joy of this experience overwhelms him. . . .

The most amazing thing is that we fall for this con trick every time. Clever dogs.


Yes, for the brew-challenged out there, a light-year is no relation to a light beer, and it is not the converse of a leap year, which has 366 days . . .

I sometimes think our field-bred Chocolate Lab should be on Ritalin: she's always high-strung and ready to play . . . but our old Beagle just stands there and barks when we come home as if to say, "Where in the Blue Blazes have you been and why didn't you take me with you?"

Clever dogs . . scary sometimes.

When I was in high school long ago, I had a beagle/terrier mix. We couldn't figure out how all the water got slopped all over the kitchen floor away from his bowl, until I watched him one day. We fed him in one of those double dishes, and I was in the habit of heating his canned food. One day I watched as he tested the food, then put his paw in the food bowl and dragged it toward him so that the water splashed out onto the floor and then splashed into the food bowl on the rebound to cool down the hot food. THAT scared me!
Regards//Larry

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:45 pm

There is another: Dibs: In Search of Self
Regards//Larry

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-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:53 pm

I don't like dogs, or better, they don't seem to like me.

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Postby tcward » Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:11 pm

I love dogs and cats. Sometimes my allergies don't, though.

Our current dog is a mutt, some kind of wild mix of lab/german shepherd/other, from the looks of her. She has thick fur, which is unfortunate in this string of 90+F days we will be having.

-Tim
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Postby anders » Mon Jul 18, 2005 4:52 pm

Back to "dibs" I think that it corresponds to what, at least in Western Sweden, used to be "pax". Yes, pure Latin.
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Postby tcward » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:19 pm

And now I see Edy's Grand Ice Cream (or Dreyer's, if you live out west) here in the US has a new product on the market:

Image

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Postby KatyBr » Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:32 am

DIBS!

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