Posted by R. Berg on November 28, 2002
In Reply to: Old son posted by ESC on November 28, 2002
: : : : What specifically does the phrase "my old son" mean and what relationoship is implied between the two people (the user of the phrase and the hearer) when the phrase is used? Thanks. - Patty
: : : In my mind's eye I could see/hear a leathery cowboy using this expression. And it looks like I was right.
: : : OLD SON - "n. (used as a form of direct address to a man). 1887 in F. Remington 'Sel. Letters' 43. Clark Old Son - As the Cornish miners say. 1959 in H. Ellison 'Sex Misspelled' 105: Pull out of it, old son." From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.
: : Thanks for this much, ESC. But..... I still have no sense of the relationship between the two men. Is the sayer older than the person it is addressed to? Does the sayer of the expression consider himself wiser than the person he addresses it to? - Patty
: The sense I get (based only on the vaguely remembered movie) is that it used among equals. Along the lines of "man" or "buddy." I've never heard it in real life.
Might it be short for "you old son of a bitch," used affectionately?