More ballistics

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More ballistics

Post by allen-uk » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:31 pm

Well, leaving gunslinger to one side, and noting that no-one has tried to excuse 'firefight', what about 'riding shotgun'? Did armed guards on stage-coaches in the wild West ever carry shotguns, or was it just because 'riding rifle' was a more awkward construction?


A
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Re: More ballistics

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:18 pm

From The Phrase Finder

at http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/riding-shotgun.html is:

The earliest reference I can find in print to people riding shotgun in real life is from the Utah [where else?] newspaper The Ogden Examiner, May 1919 - headed "Ross Will Again Ride Shotgun on Old Stage Coach":...

At http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... ng-shotgun is:

Even Partridge says the phrase "riding shotgun" is a holdover from stagecoach days. But apparently it isn't. From what we can tell, the expression didn't arise until long after the stagecoach era ended.

The term shotgun, meaning a smoothbore long weapon that fires a load of shot instead of a single ball or bullet, dates to 1776. A frontier term, "shotgun" was first recorded in Kentucky and noted by James Fenimore Cooper as part of "the language of the west." The weapon was also called a two-shoot gun, a scatter-gun, and a few other terms.


Though disdained by marksmen, the shotgun was the weapon of choice among pony express riders and stagecoach guards - indeed, in the late 1880s and early 1890s, an express messenger was called a "shotgun messenger." A shotgun scattered pellets, making it easy to hit your target at short range. If the barrels were sawed off, the shot scattered over a wider area, an advantage if you were defending against a group (robbers or wolves, for instance). You didn't need to aim precisely, just point the gun in the right direction.

Apparently, the phrase is so familiar because of the unwritten law saying it had to be used in every Western made in the 1950s.

I'll just point out that shotgun is an adverbial objective (a noun used adverbially!) rather than a true object in the expression - it describes the manner of riding (with a scatter gun; next to the driver) rather than naming what was being ridden. (If the horse is called 'Shotgun', put it in quotes.)

Oh, and that the verb-noun (group) adhesion here is quite strong, stronger than that in say he sleeps commando, and certainly than that in he left first thing. I remember the immortal, "I never rode shotgun on a hearse before," from The Magnificent Seven - the expression is idiomatic, virtually a single lexeme. Unlike "sidesaddle", it would hardly be given as an answer to "How do you ride?" (except whimsically - though perhaps modern usage would allow it as an answer to "Where do you prefer to sit in the car?"). "Ride shotgun" is not quite as rigidly bound as stand guard, say, where guard can hardly be considered as an adverbial at all - stand guard describes a single concept, not a certain style or method of or reason for standing.

Oh, and I agree that rode shotgun sounds far better than rode rifle; rode carbine might have worked, but rode Colt 45??
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Re: More ballistics

Post by trolley » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:59 pm

and post office guards who "rode blunderbuss" for the Royal Mail had to stand in a little box at the back of the coach. That's probably why it never caught on as a game for determining who sits where, in your friend's car.
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Re: More ballistics

Post by allen-uk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:35 pm

Thanks for that, Edwin F. Sounds very reasonable, both linguistically and practically.


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Re: More ballistics

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:44 pm

The F is posted so that I could re-register without any possibility of causing conflict issues after I'd committed some computing foul-up; I think middle initials tend to sound poseurish.
Unless you can write as well as Tolkien.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:54 pm

I presume you are referring to J F Tolkien?
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Re: More ballistics

Post by allen-uk » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:47 am

I used to style myself as Allen R. back when I smoked Gitanes and drank rough red wine, so apologies for not ignoring the F.

I gave up smoking in the 80s, drinking about ten years ago, and you'd have to ask my acquaintances about the pretensions.

A
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:11 pm

I find myself in a conundrum when deciding how to address someone in writing who has reduced their first name to an initial and has promoted their middle name. The problem is to know whether its possessor wishes this middle name to be regarded as a complete or partial substitute for the initial or as an adjunct to it.

Indeed we have an example of this in the name of one of our erstwhile contributors to Wordwizard, K Allen Griffy. I was never sure whether to refer to him as Allen, K Allen or by the Kafkaesque single initial, K.
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Re: More ballistics

Post by allen-uk » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:49 pm

Call the bugger Griffy. That'll teach him.
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Re: More ballistics

Post by SheilaYates » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:57 pm

If you find it difficult then have somebody to help you resolve the problem anyway it is some kind of a petty problem then it shall be resolve easily.
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Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:16 am

.. very wise thought Sheila .. what an Aussie name you have :-) ..

.. I use my middle name as my first name is a "family" name, especially my father, and so it lessens confusion .. a mate at Uni also used his middle name but always preferred to be J-Mark thus incorporating his first name .. I always put this down to his education at a GPS, Great Public School, school where English formalities would've been observed and where differentiation with other "Marks" would have been necessary ..

C David WoZ
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: More ballistics

Post by Shelley » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:15 pm

My father has the initial J. in front of his first name. It doesn't stand for anything. Just the letter J. His mother thought it added a distinguished note . . .
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Re: More ballistics

Post by SheilaYates » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:14 pm

I am so grateful to be part of the site. Imagine I am Sheila and finally there is also a member name Shelly.

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