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tif," French métif, or métis, a half-breed Indian; octaroon," ," French octavon, one who has one eighth African blood; and "quadroon," French quarteron, one who is one fourth negro.
The Dutch element in our language was generated in New York and its vicinity; but as the great metropolis exerts such a vast influence on the whole nation, it is not strange that many terms, once only Gothamite bywords, now occupy prominent places in the colloquial system of the whole country. Such has been the case with a large number of words of this class, and many others, now comparatively unknown outside of New York, will, in all probability, soon be disseminated as thoroughly as those just mentioned.
In comparing these American offshoots with their Dutch parent-stock, the resemblance is particularly striking when we remember that, in Dutch, aa is pronounced very much like au in English; oo like the o in bone; oe like oo in food; j like y; y like they in cry, and sch like sk.
Conspicuous among these relics of Nieuw Nederlandts is "boss," the popular name for an overseer, master-workman, or superior of any kind. Taking its origin from the Dutch baas, it has become a favorite word among a large class in all parts of the country. The verb "to boss" is equally common. "Stoup," so much used in the Middle States in referring to the step or steps in front of a house, is taken from the old Dutch word stoep, which had the same meaning. The expression "to muss," used in relation to clothes, &c., comes from the Dutch morsen, to soil or disorder. Overslaugh," " which is becoming a popular phrase, particularly among politicians, is derived from overslaan, to skip over or omit. The geographical term "kill" is the original Dutch name for a small stream or creek, as in Schuylkill, hidden creek; Vischkill (modernized Fishkill), fish-creek; and "hook," as used in Sandy Hook, &c., that veracious historian Diedrich Knickerbocker says, "should be properly spelled hoek, (i. e., a point of land)."
"Santa Claus " is a Dutchman of unimpeachable nationality, and his name "should be properly spelled" Santa Klaas, the Dutch abbreviation of Saint Nicholas.
One of the most commonly-used words in America is "hunkey,” and it also can claim a lineal descent from the Batavi. It may be traced to the Dutch word honk, meaning place, post, or home. The incipient manhood of New Amsterdam used this word in its plays, saying of one who had reached "base," that he was honk. Their American successors adopted it, as they did a number of other words of similar character. But the particular puerism now under consideration was destined to rise higher in the world of words. It found its way into the slang dialect, and through the medium of the daily papers was widely disseminated. With the anomalous affix dory (probably coined by some euphoniously-inspired member of the genus "Mose"), it now holds a high position in the public favor; so much so, that the unfortunate little "Jap," whose acrobatic martyrdoms were lately inflicted upon us, selected it (if he himself had any thing to do with the matter) in conjunction with the lucid expression "olrite," to display his general knowledge of the American language. From the same Dutch root comes the word "hunker," meaning, in political parlance, one who clings to the homestead, or to old principles. This word first came into general use by being applied to those identified with the more conservative wing of the Democratic party, in opposition to the "Young Democracy," or "Barnburners." It is now applied to those members of any political organization who are opposed to innovation upon the established principles of the party.
Many names of favorite articles of food in the United States have a Dutch origin. Among these are cole-slaw," from the Dutch kool-slaa, a contraction of kool-ealade, cabbage-salad; "smearcase," from smeer-kaas, literally, “smearcheese," in allusion to the practice of
spreading out the curd of which it is made on a flat surface; "cookey," Dutch koekje, a little cake; and "cruller," Dutch kruller, a curler; it being the New Amsterdam fashion, in making them, to curl or twist them up at the ends.
The German words that have come into use in this country are already very numerous, and, from the influence of the Germans now resident here, and the stream of emigration constantly going on, will certainly become much more so. Indeed, it would be strange if such a vast and wide-spread foreign element, mingling continually with the rest of the population, did not leave plain traces on the language.
The original nationality of most of these naturalized words (such, for instance, as lager) is universally known. There are some, however, with whose extraction we are not so familiar. Among these is "Kriss-Kingle," among children only subordinate to Santa Claus as a designation for that obese old personage who, in their philosophy, stands far beyond king or kaiser. This term is derived from Christ-kindlein (contracted, Christ-kindel) the child-Christ, upon whom the German children firmly rely to adorn their Christmas-trees. The very expressive and extremely popular epithet "loafer" is derived from laufer, meaning literally "a runner," and applied by the steady and phlegmatic Germans to people who are irregular and unsettled in their mode of life. “Noodle," as a name for the dumplings added to soup in districts where German cookery is popular, comes from the German name nudel, properly "vermicelli." 66 'Buck-beer," now a successful rival of the traditional lager, takes its name from the German bock-bier; bock being German for "goat," the identical rampant animal whose effigy we see in beer-saloon windows. "Shenk-beer" (German schenk-bier, from schenken, to pour out) was so called because this mild beverage is put on draught soon after it is made. The use of the word "plunder" in the sense of baggage, though by no means so general among
us as Mr. Coleridge would seem to have imagined, is very extensive in the West, and not uncommon in the South. Lexicographers have attributed this Americanism also to the Teutonic portion of · the population, deriving it from plūndern, to carry off. The expressions "right" and "left bower," borrowed from the game of euchre, and used in a great variety of senses, retain the sound of the German bauer, or bauerman, a peasant; and it is characteristic of modern Germany, that, in this game of today, they have given the peasant a place higher than that of the king. The word " bummer," now applied to one who may be described as "a loafer on the make," has long been very popular in the large cities; and if any thing was necessary to familiarize the rest of the country with its use, the notoriety it acquired during Sherman's campaign in Georgia would have been sufficient to do so. It was originally restricted in meaning to the description of persons who go about without any particular aim, and make a practice of "blowing," the acquisitive sense having been obtained gradually. This primary signification is synonymous with that of the common German term bummler, which only differs from laufer by being generally bestowed in a more goodnatured and less contemptuous way; and it is extremely probable that "bummer" is the American form of this Teutonic word.
About the words of Indian origin less is generally known than of any in the language, almost all the real knowledge on the subject being confined to a comparatively few. So much is this the case, that dictionaries and encyclopædias of good standing, in referring to words of evident Indian extraction, either do not give their derivation at all or assign them to some foreign tongue. In view of the persevering labors in the field of aboriginal philology of Gallatin, Duponceau, Rafinesque, Shea, and, above all, Schoolcraft, as well as the opportunities for research afforded by the publications of the Indian missionaries, it seems strange that
information on this subject should be so slightly diffused
Of course, words of this class are principally names of things the Indians were accustomed to see; but in many cases the original word has acquired a variety of meanings by being applied to other objects.
A majority of these Indian words have been taken from the Algonquin language, spoken (in dialects more or less similar) by the Indians of New England, the Middle States, Maryland, Virginia, and eastern North Carolina; and by the Ojibway family, and other Western tribes.
No derivation of the word "hickory" is given in the dictionaries most used in this country. This word, or its original form, was the name among the Indians of Virginia for a white liquor made by them from the kernels of hickory-nuts and water; and when they saw the English of Jamestown use milk, they gave it the same title. So says Strachey, in his "Historie of Travaile into Virginia," written in early colonial times, and published recently by the Hakluyt Society, from the manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
As none of the Algonquin tribes (except, it is said, the Abenakis) used the letter r, and as the colonists, in adopting Algonquin words, often substituted that letter for n or l, it is probable that hicconi would be a more correct spelling. "Raccoon," the origin of which is also omitted in the dictionaries, is another Virginia-Algonquin word. The earliest writers on Virginia, including Captain Smith and Strachey, call the animal aroughcun, giving that as its Indian name; and from this its present title is evidently derived. The names for the raccoon in most of the Algonquin dialects differ very slightly from the one which prevails among the Ojibways-aisebun, "a shell it was; allusion to the old tradition that the raccoon was transformed from a peculiarly marked shell into an animal. The Powhatanic name, the true pronunciation of which was probably anocoon', is an exceptional dialectic one. The opos
sum, like the raccoon, still preserves its ancient appellation, but with even less change of form, the colonial authors generally giving apassom as its Indian name. 'Hominy" is a contraction of the Powhatanic name for that article, which the early writers spell ustatahominy. "Pone," the term invariably applied to maize-bread in the South, is a contraction of the Powhatanic word for the same thing, which was apohn'. "Persimmon " is a corruption of the aboriginal name in Virginia, which was puchamin. The word "chinquapin " is also passed over by the dictionaries without any attempt to account for its origin. It is clearly a variation upon the old Powhatanic name che-chinciamin, given in Strachey's "Vocabulary.” The last syllable of this word was a generic termination, cognate in meaning to the general sense of fruit, and applied to berries, grains, nuts, and fruit proper. The same terminal particle appears in the Ojibway name for maize, mondamin, "spirit-grain," with which all readers of "Hiawatha" are acquainted. In the case of the word
chinquapin," the first letter of this termination, m, has been changed into the kindred labial p. "Suppaun," the term applied in the Middle States to hasty-pudding, or mush, is one of those Indian words that have been ascribed to foreign languages. Joel Barlow, in his "Ode to Hasty-Pudding," says, with righteous indignation,
On Hudson's banks, while men of Belgic spawn
He evidently supposed the (to him)
set name měsiccwotash, meaning, literally, corn boiled whole," but applied to a favorite dish composed of corn, beans, and venison. The word "squash" (as a name for that indigenous species of cucurbita so well known in the United States) presents one of those anomalous resemblances to synonymes in languages radically dissimilar with which the philologer occasionally meets. It is used by Shakespeare in the sense of something soft, unripe, or immature; as in "Twelfth Night," where Malvolio says of Viola, "not yet old enough for a man, nor young enough for a boy; as a squash is before 'tis a peascod." In the Natic or Masachuset dialect, asquash (from which our word comes) meant, literally, just what Shakespeare expresses by squash-what is green, unripe, or undeveloped and was applied to all vegetables that were used while unripe, or without cooking. Another word of Algonquin origin which displays considerable resemblance to a purely English synonyme, is the common term for an Indian woman, generally spelt "squaw." In the New England dialects the word was squah, or esquah; while in the Ojibway and other branch es of the languge it is quah, or equah; and the Anglo-Saxon word cwêne (from which have descended the widely separated terms queen and quean) had precisely the same meaning. "Pappoose," now almost invariably used in speaking of Indian children, also exhibits a strong likeness to its English equivalent, "baby," and the Welsh baban, from which our word comes. The New England Algonquin word, which, according to Schoolcraft, was papois, seems to have some radical affinity with the verb "to laugh;" and as the Indian children are the only portion of the race with whom laughing is not a very exceptional thing, it is a very appropriate title.
"Moccason " was adopted from the Masachuset dialect, and seems to have undergone no change in the process, although in the Kenisteno, and some other offshoots of the Algonquin tongue, it is mockisin. "Pow-wow" is a cor
ruption of powau', the Masachuset name for a prophet, conjurer, or "medicineman," called by the Ojibways wabeno and jossakeed. "Wigwam" is a variation upon the Natic phrase weecwahm, his house. "Wampum" is derived from an imperfect pronunciation by the whites of the Masachuset adjective wompe, white. Although now used to describe the Indian shell-money generally, the true generic name of which was sewan in the Algonquin language, it was really the name of the white, or inferior kind, said by the colonial chroniclers to be equivalent to silver; while the peac, or dark kind, was compared to gold. "Sachem" and "Sagamore," instead of having different meanings, as has been alleged, are both variations upon sakemo, which was the name for a chief in all the New England dialects. "Tomahawk," at present restricted in meaning to an Indian hatchet, is taken from tahmahagan, compounded from otāmahā, to beat, and the terminal particle egan, always used in the construction of verbal nouns; the name was originally given by the Algonquin tribes. to their heavy war-clubs, as its literal meaning, "beating-thing," evidently implies. "Porgy," "scup," " and "scuppaug," names for the Pagrus argyrops in different sections of the Northern States, are all derived from mishescuppaug, the plural of mishescuppe, largescaled, which was its name in the Nanaheganset dialect. "Tomcod," a common term for the frost-fish, is the modern form of the old Mohegan word tahcaud, plenty-fish. "Alewife" is a corruption of the Masachuset name for the Clupea serrata, which Winthrop says was aloof; but as neither 7 nor ƒ occur in the New England dialects, it is probable that the original word was ainoop. "Skunk" is a contraction of secăncu, by which name the animal was known among the Abenakis of Maine; and "Chicago" is merely the French orthography of the same word in the kindred dialect of the Patawatomes, the common pronunciation, Shecau'g go, expressing the actual sound of the Indian title exactly. "Moose" is an
which they supply their pipes. This preparation is made of the leaves of the sumac plant and red-willow bark, finely chopped or grated, and mixed with a certain proportion of tobacco. "Esquimaux " has been frequently called a French word, and one theory makes it a contraction of "Ceux qui miaules," "those who mew" (!). This derivation, however, is evidently a manufactured one; and the French spelling is, in reality, only due to the fact that we have received it through the medium of the Canadian voyageurs. It is the Gallicized form of the Kenisteno name for the Innuits, as they call themselves; this is, Ashkimai, an eater of raw meat; and it is quite natural that the Indians should apply to their northern neighbors a title referring to this practice, which to them seems a very strange one.
Abenaki word adopted without any variation in form. 66 Wapiti" is supposed by Mr. Bartlett to be an Iroquois word. That well-informed writer seems to be mistaken in this instance, however, as the Iroquois language is entirely wanting in the labial letters; it being a proverbial saying among the Iroquois tribes, that the whites and the Algonquins" commence talking by shutting their mouths." In the Shoshonee dialect, allied to those of the Utahs and Comanches, wāpit means yellow; as the yellowish or reddish hue of the wapiti is noticeable enough to gain for it among hunters the names of "red deer" and "gray moose," in contradistinction to the black or common moose; and as the Shoshonee country is one of its favorite habitats, it is not improbable that wapiti has been taken from that dialect. The peculiar American rodent called by naturalists Ondatra zibethicus, has acquired also the names of "muskrat" and "muscwash." The latter is its title in the Algonquin dialects generally; and ondatra, the name of the zoological genus of which it forms the only species, was its appellation in the Huron dialect of the Iroquois tongue. "Pemmican," that concentration of nutriment which is such an absolute, necessity to travellers in Arctic regions, takes its name from the Kenisteno dialect. It is a combination of pemis, fat, and ecan, or egan, the sub-trievably lost. It seems very desirable, stantive inflection, and may be literally translated "fat-substance." "Kinnikinnic," or "killikinic," now applied to a peculiar kind of smoking-tobacco, is the term among the Nacotas (or Sioux) for the smoking-mixture with
It is, of course, impossible to take, in a mere essay, any thing but a very cursory view of this subject, and that is all that has been herein attempted. The topic, however, is one in connection with which there is much room for research, and no time could be more appropriate for that purpose than the present. The sources from which all substantial information on this subject must be obtained will become less accessible every year; and opportunities for adding to the knowledge of this kind we now possess may soon be irre
therefore, that philologers and scholars generally in the United States should take advantage of the present time to give this branch of philological investigation the attention and study it de