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BS: Definition of 'Rounder'

Fortunato 20 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM
bobad 20 Dec 08 - 07:34 AM
maeve 20 Dec 08 - 07:41 AM
Janie 20 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM
Amos 20 Dec 08 - 11:22 AM
Rapparee 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
Amos 20 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Dec 08 - 12:10 PM
meself 20 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Dec 08 - 12:19 PM
Rapparee 20 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM
meself 20 Dec 08 - 12:31 PM
Amos 20 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Dec 08 - 12:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 08 - 03:47 PM
Alice 20 Dec 08 - 03:52 PM
Amos 20 Dec 08 - 04:01 PM
Lonesome EJ 20 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM
catspaw49 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 PM
Joe_F 20 Dec 08 - 09:23 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Dec 08 - 01:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Dec 08 - 05:45 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Dec 08 - 06:36 AM
Fortunato 21 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM
BK Lick 23 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM
Michael S 23 Dec 08 - 11:07 PM
JennieG 23 Dec 08 - 11:17 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Dec 08 - 07:37 AM

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Subject: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Fortunato
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM

What is a "rounder"? I had assumed,without thinking about it too much, that since the word appeared frequently in Jimmie Rodgers songs that it was a railroad trade of some kind. Something like hogger (engineer) or bull (detective). But somefolks seem to think its a traveling card sharp.

What do you folks think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: bobad
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:34 AM

From a Thesaurus:

Noun 1.        rounder - a dissolute person; usually a man who is morally unrestrained

*debauchee, libertine
*adulterer, fornicator - someone who commits adultery or fornication
*bad person - a person who does harm to others
*gigolo - a man who has sex with and is supported by a woman
*profligate, rake, rakehell, rip, roue, blood - a dissolute man in   fashionable society
*ladies' man, lady killer, seducer - a man who takes advantage of women
*swinger, tramp - a person who engages freely in promiscuous sex
*debaucher, ravisher, violator - someone who assaults others sexually
*philanderer, womaniser, womanizer - a man who likes many women and has short sexual relationships with them


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: maeve
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 07:41 AM

This Merriam Webster entry may help. Definition #2 is the one I think of in defining "Rounder":

"2: a dissolute person : wastrel"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rounder

Similar to "Bounder".


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Janie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM

That is certainly the usage of the term in "Hello Stranger."


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:22 AM

But arguably not in "Sweet Wyoming Home": "The rounders, they all wish you well, when they know you're in a jam."

From another song:

Here's to you rounders and here's to you railroad bums
Hope that you make it home soon
Here's to the women who married for love
And lived with the man in the moon


But in counterpoint, there's an implication that those who drove the big-wheel steam engines were also called rounders occasionally:

Come all you rounders that want to hear
The story of a brave engineer.
Casey Jones was the rounder's name,
On a six eight wheeler, boys, he won his fame.

Casey Jones mounted to his cabin,
Casey Jones with his orders in his hand
Casey Jones mounted to his cabin,
And he took his farewell trip to that promised land.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

Well, I was told by an old railroader (now dead) that it referred to the guys who worked in the roundhouse. I can't find it in any dictionary of railroad slang though, so it may have been local usage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM

HEre's an interesting notion as to derivation: buying rounds for the boys at the bar; presumably a rounder would be one who accepts bought rounds bought does not buy for others.

"Boys, when I've had money, I've often been found
Buying drinks for the house full and passing them round
And some that I've bought for, and treated them well
When my money's all gone, have consigned me to hell

There's them now that loves me and calls me a friend
So when I've got money, I'll be drinking with them
And all of you rounders can all go to hell
If my friends won't drink with me, well, I'll drink by myself
"


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:10 PM

Can someone please move this discussion upstairs? It's more of a music thread than a lot of stuff that goes on up there.

Don Lange was the one who wrote Here's To You Rounders and its sentiment indicates the irresponsible-drifter definition. It's a great song. Words are in the DT, though for some reason this "mirror" page, which does credit & thank Mudcat, also gives the dots:

http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiHEROUNDR;ttHEROUNDR.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: meself
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM

I always assumed that it had to do with 'getting around', 'hanging around', etc. No provenance for that, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:19 PM

Interesting point, Amos - but (in view of the fact most or all of the above are American songs) when I was growing up & going to college in America, I don't ever remember hearing anyone there speak of "buying rounds". I didn't come across the term until I moved to the UK. However, it's been a long time, so I could be wrong.

Do they use that phrase in the States?


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:20 PM

Herb Virst worked on the UP Road for a helluvalotta years. I'll ask him when I next see him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: meself
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:31 PM

"Do they use that phrase in the States?"

It's certainly used in Canada ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM

"Let me buy this round" is a common expression in the US. Likewise "Let's have another round." Cf. "Same all around", which means the same thing.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:52 PM

Fair enough! (What is that song in your 12:05 post?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:47 PM

The OED has a number of definitions,
1. One who goes around, in special senses
One who goes around a watch of sentinels (military)
A Methodist local preacher (Eng.)
One who makes the rounds of prisons, workhouses, saloons, etc.; a habitual criminal, drunkard or loafer (Chiefly U. S.). Also roundsman.
A game played with bat and ball (Eng.)
A round of thanks
One who rounds shoes (anything rounded with a tool)
A round tower (also roundel)

Buying a round, standing a round, etc. defined under round.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Alice
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:52 PM

It's also slang for someone who makes a living gambling at cards.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:01 PM

Bonnie:

It is Jim Ringer's "False Friends at the Bar" (click for DT entry).


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM

Yes, the term "buy a round" is quite common in the US. Also, "one more round", "you buy the next round", and "round? round? Get a round? I'll get a round!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 PM

True Leej, but Bird is the Word!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Joe_F
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 09:23 PM

My understanding (I forget from where) is that the word had at least two distinct meanings in U.S. vulgar language:

1. A railroad man -- employed, unemployed, or retired -- who frequents a roundhouse for society.

2. A dissolute loafer who makes the rounds of the bars in a town.

You will find both definitions (among many others, but without the "roundhouse" explanation) in the OED.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 01:49 AM

I always figured a rounder was an itinerant worker or migrant worker - someone who "made the rounds" looking for seasonal work.

People who are "settled" tend to be suspicious of them, justly or not, hence the bad reputation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:45 AM

I seem to remember Koerner , Ray and Glover recording 'Low Down Rounder's back in town again'.

What Jim says makes sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:36 AM

Just for a larf (and because it didn't necessitate me actually getting up out of my chair, perish the thought) I looked it up on my Mac's built-in dictionary, which calls itself the Oxford American Dictionary. It sez "a person who frequents bars and is often drunk".

I stand well and truly corrected - obviously I didn't hang out in the right places when I lived in the States...

I still think this qualifies as a music thread. The whole original query, and many of the answers, are about the way the word relates to song lyrics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Fortunato
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM

Thanks for your responses.
I personally like Amos' song quotes and and the suggested railroad craft of working in a Round House, or an unemployed railroad man going to a Round House for socialization. So Jimmie Rodgers was likely using the word in that sense.

That unemployed label also fits Hello Stranger: "Get up rounder, let a working man lay down,".

But I've no doubt that the broader definitions also quoted above would be quite apt, referencing card-playing, hard drinking and stealing other men's women.


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: BK Lick
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM

Two movies I know of are titled The Rounders:" one is a 1914 Charlie Chaplin silent;
the other is a 1965 comedy/western with Glen Ford and Henry Fonda.
In both films the title characters are sympathetically displayed as lovable drunks.

The Fonda/Ford film is (inexplicably) one of my all-time favorites, unrelievedly corny as it is.
The VHS tape is hard to find and fetches a high price on eBay, but a DVD is available here for $14.99

The Chaplin film can be viewed for free here.
—BK


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Michael S
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 11:07 PM

In my book on Rounder Records I quoted these lines from "Rising Sun Blues," as sung by Clarence Ashley on a Folkways Recording:

And we'll drink to the life of a rounder poor boy,
Who goes from town to town
All in this world does a rounder want
Is a suitcase and a trunk
The only time he's satisfied is when he's on a drunk

A few years after Ashley made this recording, he appeared at Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Future Rounder founders Ken Irwin and Bill Nowlin were so excited by this appearance that they made up a rubber stamp that read simply "Clarence Ashley is Coming." They stamped the phrase all around the Tufts University campus and vicinity. Nowlin later described it as a "guerilla art project."

--Michael Scully
--Austin, TX


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: JennieG
Date: 23 Dec 08 - 11:17 PM

Some of the definitions above could also refer to a "bounder" - I have come across the phrase "he's a cad and a bounder", meaning a scoundrel.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Definition of 'Rounder'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 07:37 AM

I don't think rounders are quite posh enough to be cads or bounders.
In the judgement cad or bounder, there seems to be some fallin short of an accepted behaviour code.

I get the impression, there wasn't a behaviour code for rounders.


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