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Re: Rip-roaring

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 18, 2007

In Reply to: Rip-roaring posted by Tony Bananas on November 16, 2007

: Anyone know the origin of the saying - "A rip-roaring success"?
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The Oxford English Dictionary has this, for rip-roaring or riproaring:

orig. U.S.
[Cf. RIPROARIOUS a.]

Full of vigour, spirit, or excellence; first-rate; boisterous; full-blooded.

[Examples:] 1834 W. A. CARUTHERS Kentuckian in N.Y. I. 62 There was a rip-roaring sight of slight o' hand and tumbling work there. 1845 J. J. HOOPER Some Adventures Simon Suggs x. 127 And I seed the biggest, longest, rip-roarenest, blackest, scaliest..allegator. . . orig. U.S.

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[Cf. RIPROARIOUS a.]

Full of vigour, spirit, or excellence; first-rate; boisterous; full-blooded.
1834 W. A. CARUTHERS Kentuckian in N.Y. I. 62 There was a rip-roaring sight of slight o' hand and tumbling work there. 1845 J. J. HOOPER Some Adventures Simon Suggs x. 127 And I seed the biggest, longest, rip-roarenest, blackest, scaliest..allegator. . . .1979 Guardian 14 Apr. 9/7 Rip-roaring commercial [film] successes.rip-roaring performance by Oscar Homolka."

I have omitted several examples.

You might be interested in "roaring" by itself, for which the OED gives us:

" 4. a. Characterized by riotous or noisy revelry; full of din or noise. roaring days (Austral.), the time of the Australian gold-rush; also transf., hey-day; the roaring twenties, the third decade of the twentieth century (with reference to the postwar buoyancy of that period).

[Examples:] "a1715 BURNET Own Time I. 168 It was a mad roaring time full of extravagance. 1722 DE FOE Plague (Rtldg.) 88 Revelling and roaring extravagances. 1759 TOWNLEY High Life I, We'll have a roaring Night. 1822 W. IRVING Braceb. Hall vi. 49 A generation or two of hard-livers, that led a life of roaring revelry. 1865 DICKENS Mut. Fr. I. viii, We can hear one another better than in the roaring street. 1879 STEVENSON Trav. Cevennes 152 This roaring table d'hôte. 1897 H. LAWSON Coll. Verse I. 339 But these seem dull and slow to me compared with Roaring Days. 1921 M. E. FULLERTON Bark House Days xiv. 144 We loved the stories of the 'roaring fifties'. 1930 Sat. Rev. 15 Mar. 328/1 The giants of the roaring 'twenties ought to be able to achieve glory of some sort in half as many years. . . ."

The OED sent us also to Riproarious.

"orig. U.S.

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[f. RIP v.2, after uproarious.]

Boisterous, violent.
1830 N.Y. Constellation 11 Sept. 2/5 The English traveller had put up at a little log tavern on the banks of the Savannah, where the riproarious conduct took place. . . ."

If we look up RIP v.2. we find five separate meanings, none singularly appropriate for riproarious or riproaring. The closest may be definition 2.a. " To cut or tear apart in a rough or slashing fashion."

This is not very close, but, as the OED says about rip, generally: "Of somewhat obscure origin and history; it is not quite certain that all the senses really belong to the same word."

What the OED means by "after uproarious" is "on the model of uproarious," or so I presume.
SS