Posted by RRC on May 29, 2006
In Reply to: "Fan it" posted by ESC on May 29, 2006
: : : : Hello,
: : : : I'd like to know more about the phrase "fan it", which is the title of a swing song by Woody Herman. I can guess that it's an exhortation to dance, but am wondering whether it relates to a particular step or move. Or perhaps I have it completely wrong?
: : : : Cheers,
: : : : Sarah
: : : My two cents. My mother's generation (born in the early 1900s) talked about people fanning around. We'd call it partying. Going here and there trying to have a good time. It was said with a disapproving tone.
: : I searched all over the internet for the lyrics, a quixotic exercise with songs older than I am. I found a few sound bites, but no printed lyrics. So I sprung for the 99 cents to buy the song, which is good swing-era fun. I don't offer a definitive meaning, but it's a bouncy novelty song and sounds suggestive. "met myself a good girl, her name was Sue, taught me how to love her and just what to do. You gotta fan it, baby.... fan it and cool it, fan it til the cows come home...."
: This reference has a bunch of meanings for "fan" including: To strike . To urge a horse on with a whip . To do something well . To frisk or search a suspect . "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.
: Here is something I have been wondering about. I have a CD of really old, really dirty blues songs. One is "Shave 'em Dry." The action in question is illicit sex. But I can't figure out what the song title means.
A simpler guess (but no more likely to be right), fan it as in fan the fire - make it hot, make it burn, make it smoke.