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lawyer n Usu |ˈlɔɪ(j)ə(r)|; also |ˈljə(r), ˈlɔ-|; also (often facetiously) |ˈlaɪjə(r)|; for addit varr see quots Pronc-spp la’yer, liar, li-yer
A Forms. 1891 Page Elsket 140 VA [Black], I had a some sort of a la’yer, but not much of a one. 1942 in 1944 ADD PA, Lawyer. . . liar. Common in folk speech. 1951 Johnson Resp. to PADS 20 DE (Joking . . names for lawyers) Li-yers. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. HH44, Joking or uncomplimentary names for lawyers) Inf ID1, [ˈlɑjɚ]; LA8, [ˈlɑjə] [FW: Pronounced to be ambiguous with liar]; MT1, [ˈlɔjɚ]; ND5, PA163, SD1, 3, [ˈlɔɪ(j)ɚ]; TN30, Jakeleg [ˈl˃ujɚ]; TN66, Jakeleg [ˈlujɚ]. 1991 DARE File Madison WI, The pronunciation “liar” for “lawyer” is commonly heard from clients at the Veterans Hospital here. When I first encountered it, I thought it was just being used facetiously, but after a while I realized that was just the way some people pronounced it. And after my ear had gotten attuned to it, I found, when visiting a friend in Topeka, Kansas, that people said “liar” for “lawyer” there also.
B Senses. 1 also lawyer bird: =bluestocking 2.1813 (1824) Wilson Amer. Ornith. 7.132, American Avocet: Recurvirostra Americana. . . from its perpetual clamour and flippancy of tongue, is called, by the inhabitants of Cape May, the Lawyer. 1918 Grinnell Game Birds CA 340, Together with the Black-necked Stilt, this bird is sometimes known as the “lawyer bird” because of its long bill and its oft-repeated vociferations! 1923 U.S. Dept. Ag. Misc. Circular 13.48, Avocet (Recurvirostra americana). . . Blue-stocking (N.J.; La.); lawyer (N.J.); lawyer-bird (Calif.) 2 also lawyer bird: =black-necked stilt.1844 DeKay Zool. NY 2.266, It [=Himantopus nigricollis] is known under the various popular names of Tilt, Stilt, Longshanks and Lawyer. The origin of this last popular name (which is most in use), I have not been able to discover: there appears to be nothing unusual in the length of its bill. 1872 Coues Key to N. Amer. Birds 247, Stilt. Longshanks. Lawyer. 1916 Time s–Picayune (New Orleans LA) 2 Apr mag sec 5/7, Black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus). Soldat; Beccasine du Marais; Lawyer.—The extremely long and bright-red legs; the long and slender neck and bill, identify this peculiar summer resident of Louisiana. 1923 U.S. Dept. Ag. Misc. Circular 13.48, Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus). . . Daddy-long-legs (Wash.), jacksnipe (Calif.), lawyer (N.Y., Tex., Calif.), lawyer-bird (Calif.) 1925 (1928) Forbush Birds MA 1.384, The Black-necked Stilt is known in parts of its range as the “Lawyer” because of its vociferousness. 1955 Forbush–May Birds 209, Black-Necked Stilt—Himantopus mexicanus. . . Other names: Longshanks; Lawyer Bird; Daddy-long-legs. 3 =double-crested cormorant.1917 (1923) Birds Amer. 1.97, Double-Crested Cormorant—Phalacrocorax auritus auritus. . . Other Names.—Crow Duck . . Lawyer; Nigger Goose. 1946 Hausman Eastern Birds 90, Double-Crested Cormorant—Phalacrocorax auritus auritus. . . Other Names—Shag . . Lawyer. 4 =burbot. esp MI, MN, WI See Map Cf lake lawyer 21857 Hammond Wild N. Scenes 45 Upstate NY, “That . . is a species of ling; we call it in these parts a lawyer.” “A lawyer!” said I; “why, pray?” “I don’t know, . . unless it’s because he ain’t of much use, and is the slipriest fish that swims.” 1884 Goode Fisheries U.S. 1.236, The Burbot [Lota maculosa] . . is the “Lawyer” of Lake Michigan, according to Earll. 1911 (1913) Johnson Highways Gt. Lakes 222 cnMI, These lawyers, or bullheads as they’re called by some, are ugly lookin’ fish—too much like a lizard, and the taste is nothing extra, but the flesh is white, and there’s not many bones. One time a fellow down here at Munising went to skinning ’em and calling ’em “fresh water cod.” 1936 Copeia 3.164 MN, On the night of February 12. . . a dark shadow was noted at the edge of the ice. . . Eventually this . . was seen to be . . a ball—a tangled, nearly globular mass of moving, writhing lawyers. 1950 WELS ceWI (Kinds of fish not commonly eaten) 1 Inf, Lawyer; 1 Inf, Lawyers—sucker family, scaleless, eat spawn. 1966–69 DARE (Qu. P1, . . Kinds of freshwater fish . . caught around here . . good to eat) Infs MI20, 32, MN2, Lawyer(s); MN15, Lake Superior. . . Lawyer—no backbone, an eel; (Qu. P3, Freshwater fish that are not good to eat) Infs MI103, MN10, WI72, Lawyers; MI14, Lawyer, or dogfish; WI78, Lawyer—look like cod—good eating, but people won’t eat ’em—throw ’em away now; MN5, Eel pout, burbot, lawyers; (Qu. P14, . . Commercial fishing . . what do the fishermen go out after?) Inf MN5, Lawyers—used for mink feed. 1968 DARE Tape WI75, The reason they call them a lawyer . . is because his heart is in his ass . . his heart is just above his bunghole. 1971 WI Conserv. Bulletin 36.6.23 WI, Burbot is more commonly referred to as eelpout, lawyer, or ling. 1991 Amer. Fisheries Soc. Common Names Fishes 145, Lawyer . . burbot.5 =bowfin. Cf lake lawyer 11882 U.S. Natl. Museum Bulletin 16.94, A[mia] calva. . . Lawyer. . . A voracious fish of remarkable tenacity of life. The flesh is peculiarly soft and pasty, and is of no value for food. 1896 U.S. Natl. Museum Bulletin 47.113, Amia calva. . . Mudfish; Dogfish; Bowfin; Grindle; “John A. Grindle;” Lawyer; Poisson de Marais. 1946 LaMonte N. Amer. Game Fishes 102, Lawyer, Lake Lawyer, Cottonfish. 1983 Becker Fishes WI 251, Bowfin . . Other Common names: . . John A. Grindle, grinnel, lake lawyer, lawyer. 6 also sea lawyer: Usu the gray snapper but also the schoolmaster.1882 U.S. Natl. Museum Proc. 5.275, Lutjanus caxis. . . Black Snapper; Lawyer. 1884 Goode Fisheries U.S. 1.397, Lutjanus caxis. . . known as the ‘Gray Snapper,’ and also, on account of its sly, cunning habits, the ‘Sea Lawyer.’ 1911 U.S. Bur. Census Fisheries 1908 316, The gray snapper or mangrove snapper (L[utianus] griseus), also known in Florida as “Lawyer,” is a most common species. 1935 Caine Game Fish 130, Mangrove Snapper—Lutianus griseus . . Synonyms: Bastard Snapper . . Lawyer. 1946 LaMonte N. Amer. Game Fishes 59, Schoolmaster—Lutianus apodus . . Names: Caji, Sea Lawyer . . Dog Snapper.