ten o'clock scholar

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ten o'clock scholar

Post by Archived Topic » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:39 am

Please provide the meaning and origin of the phrase "Ten o'clock scholar".

Submitted by Tom assmar (Griswold - U.S.A.)
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ten o'clock scholar

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:53 am

This is from an old nursery rhyme. It is nonsensical. A "diller," I suspect is simply a made up word for internal rhyme purposes. At least I couldn't find it in the OED

A diller, a dollar, a ten o'clock scholar!
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o'clock;
Now you come at noon.


Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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ten o'clock scholar

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:08 am

Tom and Leif, A ‘diller’ according to the New Geordie Dictionary (the dialect spoken by Geordies – natives of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England) by Graham is an ‘unwilling scholar,’ – a lazy student who isn’t too excited about having to do the work required of him. In the above Mother Goose nursery rhyme (circa 1760) an unwilling and ‘unpunctual’ student is being chastised for his tardiness and this nursery rhyme had, in fact, become a children’s chant used to chide a student who was late for school.

In modern usage, as far as I can determine from the examples I’ve seen, ‘ten o’clock scholar’ has come to mean more than just a student who is late for class. It appears to have absorbed the reluctant/lazy scholar meaning of ‘diller’ so that it now also encompasses the ideas of a student who is not serious about their studies and who looks for shortcuts and easy ways out such as reading the Cliff Notes rather than the book. The expression is used in this manner in a 1995 article in ‘Law Technology Journal,’ Vol. 4, No 2 by the Co-Director of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University. In this article he quotes an address given to the American Association of Law Schools on the ‘Uses of Technology in Teaching and Research’ and then comments on it:

The quote: “Less visible to law faculty members but increasingly visible to students are the new electronic offerings of those entities old and new that seek to profit from an understanding that law students, eager to find the shortest path to a good grade, will pay significant sums for materials that offer summary, synopsis, straight-forward exposition instead of challenging questions.”

The comment: “Martin paints a picture of a TEN O’CLOCK SCHOLAR, perhaps, but this is not the only aspect of the student psyche that these services wish to address. Lexis Counsel Connect recently announced a system of free student memberships which would, in effect, permit students to silently "sit in" on online substantive discussions between the private practitioners and corporate counsel who are LCC subscribers. This plays not to student laziness, but to a natural and vital curiosity about the world of work which awaits them . . .”
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The above quote and comment depicts the TEN O’Clock SCHOLAR as including one who might not only be late (behind schedule) in finishing his assignment, but who is willing to take ‘unscholarly’ (lazy) shortcuts to finish his work and get a good grade – the UNSCHOLARLY SCHOLAR!
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Ken G – January 3, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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ten o'clock scholar

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:22 am

Very good, Ken! Of course I should have realized that Geordie-speak would have no relationship to "English" and; therefore, would not be in the OED. So, from your explanation of the word, it could be referring to a dillertante scholar. *G*


Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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