Monday, November 25, 2013


The interesting history of the word "dude".

From the Chronicle of Higher Education (of all places)…
Popik, Cohen, Sam Clements, and a few other collaborators were googlers before there was Google. They actually searched pertinent back issues of 19th-century periodicals for evidence of the origin and spread of “dude.” 
The results appear in the October-November double issue of Comments, some 129 pages devoted entirely to the early days of “dude.”  
Thanks to Popik and Cohen’s thorough investigation, it seems almost certain that “dude” derived from “doodle,” as in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” The original New England Yankee Doodle, Cohen notes, “was the country bumpkin who stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni; i.e., by sticking a feather in his cap, he imagined himself to be fashionable like the young men of his day known as ‘macaronis.’” 
For some reason, early in 1883, this inspired someone to call foppish young men of New York City “doods,” with the alternate spelling “dudes” soon becoming the norm. Exactly what these fashionable fools were like unfolds copiously in the pages of Comments. 
From the New-York Mirror of February 24, 1883: “. . . a new and valuable addition has been made to the slang vocabulary. … We refer to the term “Dood.” For a correct definition of the expression the anxious inquirer has only to turn to the tight-trousered, brief-coated, eye-glassed, fancy-vested, sharp-toes shod, vapid youth who abounds in the Metropolis at present. …

No comments:


Related Posts