View Full Version : Etymology - "...made you his b****"

02-13-2015, 05:03 AM
So, in a period piece (1948) I have one guy say to another "...made you his bitch." But it sounds off to me--too modern.

I searched the Online Etymology Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php) but couldn't find entries for either the statement nor variations ("make you my bitch", "act like my bitch").

Any recommendations for finding the origins of this quaint little colloquialism?

02-13-2015, 05:11 AM
I thought it became au courant sometime in the late eighties or early nineties, via prison vernacular. About the same time people started wearing their pants six inches below their underwear.

02-13-2015, 05:16 AM
That sounds really off to me. I don't think that usage came into vogue until maybe twenty years ago, probably originating from a prison environment. It certainly wasn't in use in my younger days (1960s-1970s).


02-13-2015, 05:20 AM
Yes, I think you are both right. (I couldn't picture my character saying it.)

It just fit so nicely in with the preceding line about not being "anyone's dog". Now, I just need to find something equally rude to set the other guy off and trigger the violence...

02-13-2015, 05:20 AM
Yeah, it wouldn't have been a Forties thing.

02-13-2015, 06:07 AM
There's this Google ngram thing, it finds the occurrence rate of any word(s) or phrase you throw at it versus time (publishing date), from all those books Google scanned and OCR'ed (without permission, etc., etc) years ago:

From typing in the phrase, it appears first occurrence was around 1980:

It appears this hasn't been used in books that much, so if you want an actual "first use" in a book, it's likely in this list:
https://www.google.com/search?num=50&safe=off&tbm=bks&q=%22make+you+my+bitch%22&oq=%22make+you+my+bitch%22&gs_l=serp.3...16628.17772.0.18088. JI

Maybe Urban Dictionary has an equivalent saying that might have been used back then.

02-13-2015, 11:34 PM
In the late '40s, the word you're looking for would have been "punk" - a prison reference to a submissive inmate, the object of derision, scorn, and sexual abuse. It made its way to the streets and was in common use in the '50s to refer to juvenile delinquents. Not all users were aware of the more subtle connotations, but clarifications were forthcoming to those so referenced upon incarceration.

02-14-2015, 07:58 AM
I'd think "sucker" or "chump" would be more 40's. Or something like "made a monkey out of you."