"dido" currently known/used?

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I'm currently reading KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE - THE BARBARA PAYTON STORY by John O'Dowd. In this true-account wonderfully salacious (but ultimately tragic) page-turner about the self-destructive little-known B-move actress of the early 50's, Barbara Payton, there's a quote from a gossip columnist using the above word.

Context is that the actress's sexual and drinking wildness has turned from industry insider knowledge to splashy trash newspaper headlines, this incident involving a brawl involving Payton, muscle bound actor Tom Neal, and Payton's husband-actor Franchot Tone. (The three together drunk, Neal beating Tone to a pulp and almost killing him.)

The author cites columnist Edith Gwynn from the Los Angeles Mirror:

"The cheap and disgusting didoes of the Payton-Neal-Tone 'triangle' is one more case where 95% of decent Holllywoodites suffer smears for the few who are continually degrading this town."


It's in our dictionary but I'm surprised I had never seen it, and wonder if it was or is in particular vogue for use by gossip columnists, or whether it is now something dated and obscure for most.
 
  • Winstanley808

    Banned
    English - U.S.
    In the early 1950's I was a little too young to be reading or interested in Hollywood gossip columnists ("Davey, Davey-ey Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier!"). I have never heard of it and had to look it up. I had read about the real Dido in Latin class around 1960.

    SOED marks it "U.S. Slang," earliest known use in print, 1843. American Heritage Dictionary marks it "informal." Both should probably add "rare." I think its one of those words that a certain kind of 20th century columnist used to pore through dictionaries for, to use for show-off purposes.
     
    In the early 1950's I was a little too young to be reading or interested in Hollywood gossip columnists ("Davey, Davey-ey Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier!":tick:). I have never heard of it and had to look it up. I had read about the real Dido in Latin class around 1960.

    SOED marks it "U.S. Slang," earliest known use in print, 1843. American Heritage Dictionary marks it "informal." Both should probably add "rare." I think its one of those words that a certain kind of 20th century columnist used to pore through dictionaries for, to use for show-off purposes.
    Same for me, Winstan, too young in the early 50's, but by the age of 11 I'd plunged right in ...you're probably right, the word used for show-off purposes.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The OED's entry suggests that it was in vogue at least from 1807 to 1919.
    dial. and U.S. slang. A prank, a caper; a disturbance, ‘row’, ‘shindy’; esp. in phr. to cut (up) didoes.
     
    <<...>>

    Well in the usage excerpt I posted, it's being used to describe rowdy disturbing actions, not a person, so floozy wouldn't apply...you spelled it correctly.:)

    (In reality, this once beautiful actress later on degenerates into a drunkenly bloated, ugly broke homeless whore with missing teeth turning tricks in flea ridden hotels and on the street with anybody who approaches her and dies at the age of 39 looking 65. I had never heard of Barbara Payton but of course she can be Googled.)
     
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