Posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 30, 2008 at 12:53:
In Reply to: Listen up posted by ESC on March 29, 2008 at 23:09:
: : : When was the expression "listen up" first used? I'm copyediting a novel that takes place in 1898 and one character uses this expression. It sounds anachronistic to me.
: : It sounds anachronistic to me as well. My desultory search in dictionaries, including the O.E.D., did not find the phrase. My first acquaintance with it was in connection with police and the military, who get "briefings." Was it in use in World War II? I can't say for sure, although there are doubtless others who CAN say for sure. My impression is that it came into wide use only after that war.
: : I think your job as copy editor requires you to be merciless, and where there's doubt, delete. Find a substitute, unless your author can show you something to change your mind. "Pay attention, fellows," sounds a lot less questionable.
: : SS
: I've looking in a few references and couldn't find it. Sound modern to me too.
You don't say where your novel takes place, but it's my feeling that in the UK we only started saying "listen up" less than 30 years ago (VSD).