cornfield meet

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Two locomotives involved in a “cornfield meet” in the early 20th century, apparently on the Boston and Maine Railroad according to the cab-side lettering

Either from the fact that early train collisions often occurred out in the country alongside a cornfield rather than in a station or siding; or from staged events where two old steam locomotives were purposely run head on at each other, often in a open field, for public entertainment.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

cornfield meet (plural cornfield meets)

  1. (US, rail transport) An accidental head-on collision or near head-on collision of two trains. [from 19th c.]
    • 2007, Eddie Campbell, The Black Diamond Detective Agency: Containing Mayhem, Mystery, Romance, Mine shafts, Bullets, New York, N.Y.; London: First Second Books, →ISBN, page 137:
      [A 1899 man discovering ragtime:] Now they're writing music that sounds like a cornfield meet.

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References[edit]

  • Robert L[undquist] Chapman, editor (1986) New Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row, →ISBN, page 83.
  • Eric Partridge (1931), G[odfrey] Irwin, editor, American Tramp and Underworld Slang [...] With a Number of Tramp Songs. Edited with Essays [...] by G. Irwin. With a Terminal Essay on American Slang in its Relation to English Thieves’ Slang by Eric Partridge, London: Eric Partridge, OCLC 753255579.
  • Terry L. McIntyre (winter 1969), “The Language of Railroading”, in American Speech, volume 44, issue 4, JSTOR 454681, pages 243–262.

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