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Roughly equal to 50 brownie points
Wednesday, June 4, 2008   10:34 AM

A friend of mine asked me for a "solid" last night, which I quickly brushed off as a rather small favor, easily done.

This slang sense of solid goes back at least to the '70s. However — perhaps this is just my own personal idiolect, but I'm somewhat surprised to find that almost no definition of solid mentions that it's necessarily a substantial favor.

You could say, "Would you do me a favor and pass the mustard," but you would never call that a solid. At least I wouldn't. It would cheapen the solid.

(Obligatory Simpsons linguistic tie-in: at the end of "Bonfire of the Manatees," Homer says he can take a few days off work because "I've got a friend who owes me a solid." The next scene — wherein a manatee poses as Homer — is priceless.)

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Probably of no great interest to you, but I've never heard 'solid' to mean 'favour' (of any description) in my life. Has it crossed the Atlantic? Dunno. But it hasn't reached me. Must have missed that Simpsons episode...

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