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No Wikipedia Cites
08-09-2008, 11:04 PM
Several Appalachian folk songs use the term "rounder" but I am unsure of the definition.

"Go dig a hole in the meadow, good people
Go dig a hole in the ground
Come around, all you good people
And see this poor rounder go down "

Source: Smithsonian Folkways CD, Dock Boggs: His Folkways Years, 1963-1968

or "Some rounder come along
Rounder come along with his mouth full of gold
Rounder stole my greenback roll
And I've got no sugar honey baby now"

Source: Traditional see "http://homepage.ntlworld.com/farawayhills/lyrics3.html"

Johnny L.A.
08-09-2008, 11:08 PM
A person lacking moral restraint. A cad. A bounder.

Zoe
08-09-2008, 11:16 PM
A "rounder" was a person who spent money as if there were no tomorrow. Apparently for the first of your examples, this thinking turned out to be true. Judging from the second use, a "rounder" would go through his money and yours too.

I don't know if the term is still in use.

No Wikipedia Cites
08-09-2008, 11:19 PM
Can you offer any etymology of the term -- does it refer to a con man being fat because he could afford to eat (back in the old days)?

Oslo Ostragoth
08-09-2008, 11:40 PM
There seems to be a lack of consensus (http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rounder).

Northern Piper
08-10-2008, 09:19 AM
I'm familiar with it in the sense of a con man, often one who specialises in shady business deals. I've heard it used in this sense by Crowns, cops, and bankruptcy lawyers.

Swallowed My Cellphone
08-10-2008, 09:43 AM
I'm familiar with it in the sense of a con man, often one who specialises in shady business deals. I've heard it used in this sense by Crowns, cops, and bankruptcy lawyers.Interesting, I've heard it mostly with respect to gamibling, but in a way that's consistent with what Zoe described: a guy who burns through his money like crazy while being way over his head.

It still fits with the way you understand the word, because such a guy would be jumping at every get-rich-quick scheme there was to be had.

ETA: Granted, I also used to hear the term primarilty from a 76-year-old man from London, England, and there's no guarantee he was using the term in the right context or that I was totally understanding what he meant.

adirondack_mike
08-10-2008, 09:45 AM
Can you offer any etymology of the term -- does it refer to a con man being fat because he could afford to eat (back in the old days)?

The earliest cites I could find revolve around making the rounds at bars and saloons. Cites are from 1888 and 1900. The latter reference suggests that rounders made the rounds of the happening places - to rub elbows with celebrities and the rich. Partrdige did not have it listed which suggests that it is solely an American expression.

I also found a reference to a rounder as a methodist minister who made the rounds on a religious circuit. There is a long history of jokes about the traveling ministers in the south involving either sexual escapades with the congregations or showing up at homes just as dinner is being served.

By extension a rounder could refer to anyone who makes rounds - of bars, women's houses (presumably when the husband is not at home), patients, etc.

The 1998 movie "Rounders" (about poker) has probably set the meaning to card players and poker, which is certainly not what the earliest references are.

DrCube
08-10-2008, 09:51 AM
"Come all you rounders listen unto me:
Lay off that whisky and let that cocaine be."
- Johnny Cash, "Cocaine Blues"

Also, there is Rounders, the poker movie.

Due to the above, I've always assumed the term referred to poker players and bar-hoppers, like the urbandictionary definitions 1 and 4.

bufftabby
08-10-2008, 10:06 AM
A modern example, in the vein of Johnny Cash:

Old Crow Medicine Show, "Tell It to Me"


"Now won’t you tell it to me
Tell it to me
Drink the corn liquor let the cocaine be
Cocaine’s gonna kill my honey dead

All them rounders think they’re tough
But they feed their women on beer and snuff
Cocaine’s gonna kill my honey dead"

I've been wondering about "rounders" since I heard the song, but never really looked into it.

yabob
08-10-2008, 10:16 AM
Delia was a gambling girl, gambled all around,
Delia was a gambling girl, she laid her money down.

...

Delia, Delia, how could it be?
Loved all them rounders, never did love me.

As long as we're quoting song lyrics, "Delia" supports the gambling connection.

Dylan covered it, David Bromberg did a good version, Blind Willie McTell recorded a version in 1940.

Northern Piper
08-10-2008, 10:21 AM
Interesting, I've heard it mostly with respect to gamibling, but in a way that's consistent with what Zoe described: a guy who burns through his money like crazy while being way over his head.

It still fits with the way you understand the word, because such a guy would be jumping at every get-rich-quick scheme there was to be had.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. The sense I'm familiar with, it's used for the guy who sets up the get-rich-quick schemes, in hopes of attracting the suckers.

Argent Towers
08-10-2008, 11:18 AM
Delia was a gambling girl, gambled all around,
Delia was a gambling girl, she laid her money down.

...

Delia, Delia, how could it be?
Loved all them rounders, never did love me.


Is the song Stagger Lee by the Dead somehow an homage to this song? The lyrical structure sounds awfully similar...

NinetyWt
08-10-2008, 11:20 AM
They way I've heard it used is in the sense of a wild-life loving party guy. Skirt chasers, pool hall frequenters, gamblers, moonshiners - etc. Also used interchangeably with "dirt road sport". Of course, we're a bit down the road from Appalachia so the meaning may have morphed somewhat. I've no idea about the etymology.

NinetyWt
08-10-2008, 11:22 AM
Is the song Stagger Lee by the Dead somehow an homage to this song? The lyrical structure sounds awfully similar... The origins of the song Stagger Lee (also known as Stag 'o lee and other variants) predates the Dead and its origin is disputed. Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagger_Lee) article. I first heard of it in a little book of guitar songs my daddy had called "Hootenany Tonight".

yabob
08-10-2008, 11:25 AM
Is the song Stagger Lee by the Dead somehow an homage to this song? The lyrical structure sounds awfully similar...
No, that's another old, old song which has been covered by everybody and his brother. The lyrical structure is similar because they come out of the same tradition. No two versions with quite the same verses, and lines from some of these songs might well get interchanged, depending on who's doing them.

coolsteam
05-07-2015, 03:56 PM
The term "Rounder" can mean different things depending on the context of its use. In Bluegrass/Appalachian songs it can refer to a "vagabond"...someone who's been "around." To understand the notion of the hobo in the time frame of the songs, several of the other definitions also apply. For example, rounders were fond of drink, might play cards to make money off a pigeon player, and would usually spread their wealth as if it was pennies from heaven. Hobos lived for the day and took care of one another when times were good. Whether these attributes were later associated with card sharks, male bar-flies, or con artists is difficult to say...but the hobo referred to in many songs is called a "rounder." This is also the context of "rounder" in the Wabash Cannonball, where they say, "So here's to daddy Claxton, may his name forever be, and always be remembered in the courts of Tennessee, for he is a good old rounder 'til the curtain round him fall, and we'll carry him home to Dixie on the Wabash Cannonball." This was a song of a train that did not exist, but epitomized the greatest train of legend. You can see in this context that the hobos thought of Claxton as a "good old rounder." They would have claimed him so because he was associated with the classic traits of a hobos, including run-ins with the law.

samclem
05-07-2015, 10:40 PM
The original use of rounder with a negative connotation is from England--
A person who spreads rumours or gossip, esp. in a quiet and secretive manner; a tattler, a whisperer.
ear-rounder: see the first element.



OE Ćlfric Gram. (St. John's Oxf.) 217 Susurro ic runige..and hic susurro đes runere oţţe wroht.

a1425 (▸?a1400) Cloud of Unknowing (Harl. 674) (1944) 130 Fleschly iangelers, glosers & blamers, roukers & rouners..kept I neuer ţat ţei sawe ţis book.

1496 Dives & Pauper (de Worde) v. iv. sig. mij/2, A preuy rowner, that pryuely telleth false tales amonges the people.

a1500 (▸?1388) in T. Wright Polit. Poems & Songs (1859) I. 271 Rowners and flatreres.

c1500 (▸?a1475) Assembly of Gods (1896) 687 (MED), Rowners, uagaboundes, forgers of lesynges.

▸?a1513 W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 150 With..rownaris [a1586 rowneris] of fals lesingis.

1552 Abp. J. Hamilton Catech. i. xxiii. f. 69, Of thame yat ar quysperaris, rowkaris & rounaris.

1609 S. Grahame Anat. Humors f.42, Woe be to seditious tail-tellers, to leying lippes, to harkners and rounders. and goes back to the 1400s-1600s. It seems to have died out there.

It show up as an American slang around
N. Amer. A person who is frequently imprisoned, or who frequents disreputable bars, nightclubs, etc.; a habitual criminal, idler, or drunkard. Also fig.

1854 Congress. Globe 33rd Congress 1st Sess. App. 1220/3, I have always found him a very kind and agreeable man—what the ‘rounders’ in New York would term a ‘glover’.
1879 Let. 20 Oct. in J. F. Daly Life A. Daly (1917) xxi. 330 [We] are old ‘rounders’ and familiar with the voice, gait and peculiarities of most of the actors and actresses on the American stage.

e. U.S. slang. A person who repeatedly seeks free medical attention or similar charity. Now hist.

1880 Trans. Amer. Med. Assoc. 31 999 This Territorial Distribution would secure..an avoidance of overlapping in the registration and treatment of Beneficiaries, and the checking of the so-called Rounders on Medical Charities.

1901 Med. Communications Mass. Med. Soc. 18 119 The class of persons known in institutions' departments as ‘rounders’, people who go from one hospital to another seeking advice and treatment, a species of medical mendicants.

Senegoid
05-08-2015, 01:51 PM
He's a tramp, but they love him.
Breaks a new heart every day.
He's a tramp, they adore him.
And I only hope he'll stay that way...

He's a tramp, he's a scoundrel
He's a rounder, he's a cad
He's a tramp, but I love him.
Yes, even I have got it pretty bad.

-- Peggy Lee in Lady And The Tramp (http://google.com/url?q=http://youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DaGHLcobLUqA&sa=U&ei=mwRNVdfrE4u1oQS2v4CIBA&ved=0CBsQtwIwAg&usg=AFQjCNGS4w5eMFaAQPKwZgH0jNltIHN6-g)

Gary T
05-08-2015, 02:36 PM
"Come all you rounders listen unto me:
Lay off that whisky and let that cocaine be."
- Johnny Cash, "Cocaine Blues"(Note that "Cocaine Blues (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine_Blues)," and chart hits thereof, preceded Johnny Cash by a good bit.)

The song opens "Early one morning, while making my rounds." A couple lines later he heads home to bed, indicating the time referred to would be the wee hours. This is consistent with one who makes the rounds of nightclubs, bars, and other late night joints.

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