Posted by James Briggs on July 18, 2005
In Reply to: Re: Straw dogs, too posted by Steve E on July 18, 2005
: : : : : STRAW PURCHASE - A person with a clean record buying a gun and then selling it. "'.They pick straws who have valid ID, no record, and a steady employment history, in case the gun dealer checks.'" From "The Devil's Corner" by Lisa Scottoline (HarperCollins Publishers , Page 13.
: : : : : CRACK -- "Most cocaine decreased when it was cooked, by mixing it with water, baking soda, and a cutting agent like mannitol, and stirring until oil formed on the water's surface. The oil would be cooled on ice, so it crystallized to form rocks. The crackling sound the mixture made when it was boiled gave the drug its name. Crack." From "The Devil's Corner" by Lisa Scottoline (HarperCollins Publishers , Page 12.
: : : : ESC, did you get a new addition to your amazing library of jargon, slang and unusual words? Well, it looks like a good choice. I'm surprised that Ms. Scottoline did not mention "straw man" in regard to the straw purchase, as it would have some explanatory benefit. The OED says little about "sraw man," no mention at all of scarecrows, but does send us to man of straw, which it defines as: "e. man of straw: (a) a person or thing compared to a straw image; a counterfeit, sham, 'dummy'; similarly, a face of straw, etc.; (b) an imaginary adversary, or an invented adverse argument, adduced in order to be triumphantly confuted; (c) a person of no substance, esp. one who undertakes a pecuniary responsibility without having the means of discharging it; (d) a fictitious or irresponsible person fraudulently put forward as a surety or as a party in an action." I think what we want here is the "straw man" as dummy, as in dummy corporation. The "straw purchaser" is a dummy for the real purchaser.
: : : : As for "crack," that was, for me, new and interesting information. SS
: : : :
: : : A straw dog is not appreciably different in meaning from a straw man. I've always advised people in my business not to present three ideas when you only really like two - the decision maker will glom on to the straw dog without fail.
: : Yes, "straw purchase" was new to me.
: There is also "straw corporation"
How does this 'strawman' fit in with a 'man of straw'. For me, the latter is a weakling, a man with no opinion. In my 1811 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue' he's described as a farm labourer up for hire; a straw in his boot/shoe indicated his availability.