Thursday, November 13, 2008


From the latest Stephanie Laurens, p. 76:

She was far to fly to the nuances of place to let him use the lingering echoes of last night to distract her.

Assuming that should be “too fly to the nuances,” again I ask, SRSLY?

So it seems. A little etymological googling first turned up this, but no date:

fly (flī)
adjective flier fli′er, fliest fli′•est
1. CHIEFLY BRIT., SLANG alert and knowing; sharp; quick
2. SLANG fashionable, stylish, attractive, etc.
Etymology: orig., thieves' slang < ? fly Source

“Thieves’ slang?” Hmm. Adding that to the google mix, I found this:

fly (n.)
O.E. fleoge, from P.Gmc. *fleugjon (cf. O.S. fleiga, O.N. fluga, M.Du. vlieghe, Ger. Fliege "fly); lit. "the flying (insect)" (cf. O.E. fleogende "flying"), from same source as fly (v.1). Originally "any winged insect" (hence butterfly, etc.); long used by farmers and gardeners for any insect parasite. Slang adj. meaning "clever, alert, wide awake" first recorded 18c., perhaps from the notion of the insect being hard to catch (other theories, however, trace it to fledge or flash); 1990s use may be a revival or a reinvention. Fly on the wall "unseen observer" first recorded 1949. An O.E. word for "curtain" was fleonet "fly-net." Fly-swatter first attested 1917. Flypaper attested from 1851, though the item itself is said to have become commonly available in London in 1848.


I wish it gave usage though. I’m just having SUCH a hard time with a regency noblewoman being fly to nuances.

Anyone have more or better sources?

Oh, and here's a bonus:

Flying fuck originally meant "have sex on horseback" and is first attested c.1800 in broadside ballad "New Feats of Horsemanship."


MsValerie said...

That would have distracted me too...and I really hate having something like that distract me when I'm reading. "Fly to nuances"...??

FD said...

Fly will be from "fly to the time of day," meaning worldly, knowledgeable. Circa 1800's, and probably earlier.
Yes, thieves cant, and no, not a genteely raised maidens phrase. Not to mention awkward phrasing.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Even without the to/too issue, the words "fly" and "nuances" seem like they'd come out of two diferent characters' mouths. Unless she's
Jenny From The Block, PhD.

JenB said...

Wow, I don't even...huh? I mean...what??


Betsy O'Donovan said...

> Unless she's
Jenny From The Block, PhD.

Oh, unattractive snortlaugh just now.

Yeah, I went on a hardcore Stephanie Laurens binge back when I was on my kick about romance series involving families (um, not family romances; ick).

Anyway, the Laurens books just don't hold up on second (or, apparently, first?) reading the way the Julia Quinn books do.

Nicola O. said...

I think they're getting worse, particularly the love scenes. Extremely choppy. Extremely.

Wonder if success has made her editing (or editor) lazy?

Carolyn Crane said...

LOL. I love these defs and the fly!!

But I still don't get it! I think a writer has to consider the reader at SOME point!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Laurens is being "strongly encouraged" to pump out new books faster than she's comfortable with, and the quality is slipping.

Ms. Laurens, SLOW DOWN. We'll wait.

Nicola O. said...

ms valerie - oh, SO distracting! I think I spent 20 minutes looking for the exact quote to make sure I wasn't mis-remembering it.

fd - thanks for the additional info, and welcome!

generic - "Jenny From The Block, PhD" no fair being funnier than me on my own blog - and you might be right about the machine aspect.

Jen - my thoughts exactly. Also: "O NO SHE DINT!!"

CJ - thankee. :-) the graphic was an afterthought.


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