Return to Bogart (idea)

"Bogart" means either to [hog], to take more than the fair share of something (particularly a [joint]), or less often, to [bully], act [tough] and to be [belligerent]. Both of these usages come from the name of the actor [Humphrey Bogart] (1900-1957) who generally played tough-guy [movie] roles. The second usage makes sense to anyone who's seen "Bogey" on film, but how did a guy who only smoked [tobacco] on screen become the verb for hogging [marijuana]?

A subscriber of [A.Word.A.Day] named Chris Strolin offered this explanation:

While "to bogart" now means "to hog or take more than one's share," (largely because of the [song] lyric "Don't bogart that joint, m' friend. Pass it over to me again.") this is only because so many people have gotten it wrong for so many years. One of the great misunderstood slang phrases of my youth, "to bogart a joint" originally meant to [dangle] a marijuana cigarette from your [lips] in the same manner Humphrey Bogart would do with a regular [cigarette] while eyeing a sultry [Lauren Bacall] from across a smoky [bar] room. With the lit end pointing downward this way, the joint would burn much more rapidly and, worse, would do so to no one's benefit. . . . the social crime involved was not in hogging the marijuana but in wasting it!

(The song he quotes is "Don't Bogart Me" {also known as "Don't Bogart That Joint" after the repeated chorus}, written by Elliot Ingber and performed on the soundtrack of the [1969] movie "[Easy Rider]" by Fraternity Of Man (as well as Fraternity of Man's self-titled first album in [1968]). It was later covered by [Little Feat] among others. )

This explanation made sense to me, so I went looking for confirmation -- but I found several completely different explanations from others. Word Detective users offered these other possibilities:

'I thought "bogart"ing something was to [toss] it away before it was done. As in, don't toss away that joint before I have a chance to get [high] . . . I was told it was a reference to the way Humphrey Bogart, as the tough guy, would always dramatically flick a half-finished cigarette when he was making a point.'

'Originally, I thought "bogarting a joint" meant to accidently [soak] the end in your mouth as often happened when [unfiltered] cigarettes (the kind Bogart smoked) stayed in your mouth for extended periods.We referred to it, in the 1950's, as "mugging" the cigarette.'

However, one person came up with a [movie] reference:
'In "[The Roaring Twenties]" [James Cagney|Cagney] is sharing a cig with Bogart. He keeps it. Hence, bogart - to hog.'

According to the U.S. [Census] Bureau (via dictionary.com), "Bogart" is also a town in [Georgia], USA:

Bogart, GA (town, FIPS 9068)
  Location: 33.94731 N, 83.53232 W
  Population (1990): 1018 (424 housing units)
  Area: 6.5 sq km (land), 0.0 sq km (water)
  Zip code(s): 30622
And one user of urbandictionary.com actually claims the hog/steal usage comes from this town rather than the actor!
"to steal or borrow in a [white trash]y manner. Coined after the citizens of Bogart, GA."

So, barring a lot more scholarship and sources that pre-date the 1968 song, the exact route this term took to its present meaning will remain unsure.

Sources:
http://wordsmith.org/words/bogart.html
www.wordsmith.org/awad/awadmail107.html
http://www.virus-bs.ch/lyr/bogart.htm
http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/introjs.htm?/~acsa/songfile/DONTBOGA.HTM.
http://www.lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/d/dontbogartmedontbogartthatjoint.shtml
http://www.wordwizard.com/clubhouse/founddiscuss1.asp?Num=3900
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bogart
http://www.wordorigins.org/wordorb.htm

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