black man n
1 An evil spirit, boogeyman, devil. esp Sth, S Midl Cf black adj and EDD
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2 also black man’s base: A children’s game similar to pom-pom-pullaway n; one of the players who try to catch the others in this game. chiefly N Cent, Cent See Map Cf black Tom n
1858 Lady’s Home Mag. Lit. Art & Fashion 11.225 OH, Many a time the first fortnight of school, while she was whirling on one foot, or playing ‘black man’ with the boys, I saw the teacher’s pale face peeping out of a window, with his brow resting on his hand. 1872 Indianapolis Jrl. (IN) 29 Apr 3/3, The young gents and ladies of Knox amuse themselves by playing “black-man” on the court house square. 1883 Delphi Weekly Times (IN) 2 Mar 1/1, At school on Tuesday, while engaged in a game of “black man,” Willie White fell to the frozen ground and sustained severe and dangerous injuries. 1895 DN 1.398 IL, IA, PA, A common game among boys is known variously as king and . . blackman. 1915 DN 4.181 swVA, Blackman. . . A kind of game among boys. 1933 Woodland Daily Democrat (CA) 13 Jan 1/2, Christensen fell while playing “Black Man” at school this week and fractured the head of the humerus bone in his left shoulder. 1938 Pointer (Riverdale IL) 17 Nov 2/5, Berger School. . . The weather has been cold lately, so rooms three and four have been playing “blackman” outside at recess and at noon. 1949 Hedgecock Gone Are the Days 77 swMO, We boys try to get there in time to play a little black man or cross tag in the schoolyard before time for the literary to begin. 1953 Brewster Amer. Nonsinging Games 56 IN, Black Man. . . This game is played by six or more youngsters, two of whom are “black men.” The others have two safety bases, on which they cannot be caught. If they run between the bases, however, they can be caught and then they too become “black men.” The “black man” must pat each captive three times on the back. The first two players caught are the “black men” for the next game. 1964 Wallace Frontier Life 47 OK (as of 1893–1906), Each day at school brought new adventures, such as . . catching my opponents in a strenuous game of “Black-man.” 1965–70 DARE (Qu. EE26) Infs CA105, IL11, 126, OK1, PA221, Black man; (Qu. EE33) 26 Infs, chiefly N Cent, Cent, Black man; OH66, Black man’s base. 1969 Kantor MO Bittersweet 142 nwMO, There used to be a game children played, in . . these-here parts. . . They called it Black Man. . . It, the Black Man, would try to catch as many as he could. Once caught, a player became a Black Man. He joined the Its. 1970 Walla Walla Union–Bulletin (WA) 12 Nov 13/1 (as of 1890s), Indians at that time camped and fished on the Tucannon. White and red offspring mixed freely, the game of Black Man being a remembered favorite.
3 also black man’s buff: A children’s game similar to blindman’s buff.
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