View Full Version : Casing a joint
06-27-2003, 12:51 AM
A frined of mine complained to police after he saw that two men were constantly watching the gas station at which my frined was employed. The cops claimed that the crooks were "casing" the station because they were going to rob it later. What I want to know is the origin of the word "case" when it refers to planning a robbery. My grandfather, a former bookie and crook of an unknown level, claimed that CASE stands for Cops, Alarms, Supplies, and Exits. The word was just a device to remind thiefs what to look for before they rob someone. Is this true, or is Grandpa pulling my leg again?
06-27-2003, 01:46 AM
My dictionary says that one of the meanings of the word 'case' is: "9. the cavity in the skull of a sperm whale, containing an oil from which spermaceti is obtained." Looking forward, the same dictionary defines 'spermaceti' as: "a pearly white, waxy, translucent solid, obtained from the the oil in the head of the sperm whale: used chiefly in cosmetics and candles, and as an emollient," which suprised me, since it sounded very like an Italian food. Anyway, looking back, then, the very same dictionary defines an 'emollient' as: "1. having the power of softening or relaxing . . . , " which again suprised me, since it sounded so much like a condiment. Again looking ahead, not satisfied that the problem has been adequately solved, this very same tome indicates that the word 'relaxing' can be held often to mean: "9. to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc."
I hope that clears things up, just in case, in this particular case, a case can be made, and that case inadverently runs afoul of the whale lovers, who are a a case apart, and could use some relaxation, case related or otherwise. I'm not sure why one would wish to case the case of a whale, sperm or otherwise, since it sounds like a case of too much more than we needed to know, and turned out not to be a recipe at all, but just in case, it always helps to case the joint first, in case some frightfully picky people might be hanging about, ready to jump on your case.
See also definitions and etymology of words such as "why," "chair," and "watermelon," for further elucidation.
06-27-2003, 02:31 AM
Thanks Garlic, I'll never get that minute of my life back.
I hope you copied and pasted, otherwise you lost more time than I.
06-27-2003, 02:57 AM
Yeah - seriously Gairloch, you need to learn how to use the dictionary. Your not supposed to just read it like a book. You've gotta look things up...
As for the OP, the word "case" in the sense that you used it, it slang. It's not listed in acronymfinder.com for CASE. So in short, I don't know what it stands for.
I always thought that I was used as "event" - "in case of attack" or some-such. They will rob the place so, it will be a "case of robbery"...
Just my 2c.
06-27-2003, 04:40 AM
Originally posted by ikderk
A frined of mine complained to police after he saw that two men were constantly watching the gas station at which my frined was employed. The cops claimed that the crooks were "casing" the station because they were going to rob it later. What I want to know is the origin of the word "case" when it refers to planning a robbery. My grandfather, a former bookie and crook of an unknown level, claimed that CASE stands for Cops, Alarms, Supplies, and Exits. The word was just a device to remind thiefs what to look for before they rob someone. Is this true, or is Grandpa pulling my leg again? Although I haven't yet found anything substantial on this, I think the acronym etymology is almost certainly bogus - (Port Out, Starboard Home/For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge/Ship High In Transit etc) - they nearly always consist of post-hoc amateur rationalisations.
06-27-2003, 04:48 AM
...OK, it seems more likely that it is a case of the noun being verbed - not unlike the kind of thing that happens in obnoxious business buzzspeak;
"Dammit Peter, we need an urgent case study on the Johnson account"
"Dammit Peter, case Johnson will you? Then we'll do lunch"
06-27-2003, 10:29 AM
Here's what the Merriam-Webster online says: Main Entry: 3case
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): cased; cas·ing
1 : to enclose in or cover with or as if with a case : ENCASE
2 : to line (as a well) with supporting material (as metal pipe)
3 : to inspect or study especially with intent to rob The evolution of the meaning seems fairly straightforward from those definitions. I'm guessing that the verb "cover" went through a similar evolution (in the sense of a journalist "covering" a story).
06-27-2003, 01:18 PM
Can't find the cite right now, but I remember in the Snopes articles that debunk acronymic words, Barbara mentions that all legitimate acronymic words (radar, scuba, etc) are 20th century inventions.
whoops...found it :)
We've yet to find an acronym that predates the 20th century
06-27-2003, 02:04 PM
Sorry for the triple post :)
06-27-2003, 11:34 PM
Sorry about that one. Hey, it was late . . .
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