A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 19, 2009
Snakebit or Snake-bit (Snakebitten or Snake-bitten)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Main Entry: snake·bit
Pronunciation: \-ˌbit\
Variant(s): or snake·bit·ten \-ˌbi-tən\
Function: adjective
Date: 1957
: having or experiencing failure or bad luck : unlucky

Urban Dictionary
snake bit
To be cursed, extremely unlucky or destined to fail at anything you try.
The cubs haven’t been to the series in years they are snake bit.
by theunemp Jul 14, 2006

(Oxford English Dictionary)
snake-bit(ten) a., (a) bitten by a snake; (b) U.S. irremediably doomed to misfortune
1807 GASS Jrnl. 20 One of our people got *snake bitten but not dangerously.
1938 M. K. RAWLINGS Yearling xiv. 149 He sobbed, ‘Pa—He’s snake-bit.’
1942 W. FAULKNER Go down, Moses 111 Ah’m snakebit and de pizen cant hawm me.
1957 Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.) 18 Nov. 14/1 It was another long afternoon Saturday at Scott Stadium for Coach Ben Martin, his assistants and his ‘snake-bitten’ football players as they fell before South Carolina, 13-0. Ibid., Commenting on the game last Saturday afternoon Martin said: ‘We’re just snake-bit that’s all there is to it.’ Snake-bit is a term used by coaches when referring to a team which never seems to have a break in its favor.
1965 MRS. L. B. JOHNSON White House Diary 10 June (1970) 283 From the first moment of the day we were ‘snake-bit’—everything went wrong.

28 June 1851, Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, OH), “The Last Thing We Have Seen,” pg. 2, col. 2:
The Democrats who were fooled by the whigs, voted for the old Constitution, and are thus most awfully snake-bit.

Austin (TX) American-Statesman
Small agency, more bad news
EDITORIAL BOARD
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
(...)
It’s hard to argue with that, of course. Nonetheless, legislators ought to examine whether the agency is unlucky — “snakebit” is the old Texas expression to describe such luck — or is contributing to its misfortune. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, August 19, 2009 • Permalink