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#3204 - 06/02/00 05:52 AM American terms
Rubrick Offline
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Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
Hi y'all,

I've been interested in a number of American terms but I am dissatisfied with their given definitions. There seem to be so many different variations. Can anyone offer me some better explanations of how they emanated??

Two in particular:

Main Entry: grin·go
Pronunciation: 'gri[ng]-(")gO
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural gringos
Etymology: Spanish, alteration of griego Greek, stranger, from Latin
Graecus Greek
Date: 1849
often disparaging : a foreigner in Spain or Latin America especially
when of English or American origin; broadly : a non-Hispanic person

This is interesting because I have heard the legend that the cowboys of texas sang a song called 'green grows the grass of .........' and the mexicans picked it up as 'gringos'. The definition above sounds more plausible but I am in two minds as to which version to accept.


Main Entry: Dix·ie
Pronunciation: 'dik-sE
Function: noun
Etymology: name for the Southern states in the song Dixie (1859) by
Daniel D. Emmett
Date: 1859
: the Southern states of the U.S.

Okay. I know the song and it makes sense that it was adopted by the Southerners particularly at that volatile time in US history. But where did the word 'Dixie' come from???? My educated guess would be that it has something to do with the Mason-Dixon line. Am I right?? Does anyone truly know?

I look forward to your comments......

Rubrick


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#3205 - 06/02/00 07:54 AM Re: American terms
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Brick,

Well.... y'all are barkin up mah tree. I've heard the "Green grow the rushes, oh" explanation, too, but although that is a marvelous [sic] counting song, I think it's apocryphal in explaining the word "gringo." I'll go with your etymological research.

As for Dixie, yep, you got it. Mason-Dixon line. No doubt there.


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#3206 - 06/02/00 08:09 AM Re: American terms
Rubrick Offline
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Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> As for Dixie, yep, you got it. Mason-Dixon line. No doubt there.

Shouldn't that make the Northerners 'masonet(te)s'?


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#3207 - 06/02/00 08:30 AM Re: American terms
AnnaStrophic Offline
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>>Shouldn't that make the Northerners 'masonet(te)s'?

hehehe... sure, or at the very least, Freemasons


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#3208 - 06/02/00 08:41 AM Re: American terms
Jackie Offline

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"Freemasons"?? GREAT!!


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#3209 - 06/02/00 11:53 AM Re: American terms
tsuwm Offline
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Loc: this too shall pass
>Shouldn't that make the Northerners 'masonet(te)s'?

oh sure; and southern belles who get too much sun are raisonettes.


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#3210 - 06/02/00 03:23 PM Re: American terms
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>Shouldn't that make the Northerners 'ma(i)sonet(te)s'?<<

I would have thought that Northerners lived in them!






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#3211 - 06/02/00 06:29 PM Re: American terms
Jackie Offline

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>>>>Shouldn't that make the Northerners 'ma(i)sonet(te)s'?<<

I would have thought that Northerners lived in them! <<<

So do southerners!








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#3212 - 06/02/00 06:31 PM Re: American terms
Jackie Offline

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Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>southern belles who get too much sun are raisonettes.<<

Why, that's our raison d'etre!




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#3213 - 06/03/00 10:47 AM Re: American terms
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.

> Main Entry: grin·go
> Etymology: Spanish, alteration of griego Greek, stranger, from Latin

I think this is a Mexican word, nobody uses it in Spain but I am pretty sure that this ‘griego’ etymology is not correct. I see this ‘green grows’ more plausible. I think that it is an onomatopoetic word that tries to imitate the gibberish that the sounds of a foreign language seem to a stranger.
We have a slang word ‘guiri’ with the same etymology I have supposed for ‘gringo’ that we employ when referring to any non Spanish speaker, but mainly from countries with non Latin languages.
Although it can be used in an offensive way, most time we use it quite amiably -we really owe a lot to tourists-. I even have an English friend -Marcos- and he introduces himself as ‘Marcos el guiri’.


Juan Maria.

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#3214 - 06/03/00 02:45 PM gringo/yankee
AnnaStrophic Offline
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JM,

That is very interesting!! If "gringo" is not used in Spain, maybe the "green grows" story has some truth to it.
The term is also used in Brazil; I guess it spread across the border from Argentina on its way south from Mexico. It is usually pejorative, but I had friends there who called me "gringa" as a term of endearment.

Speaking of which, what about the origin of "Yankee?" I used to know that, but in my dotage have forgotten. Interesting, those of us who live in the South (the Dixie cups) reserve that term for those who live in the North. But folks in the UK and Australia call us all Yanks. And South Americans call us all "Yanquis."


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#3215 - 06/03/00 04:11 PM Re: gringo
tsuwm Offline
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it seems most lexicographers agree that the Spanish griego is the root, in the foreign sense of "it's all Greek to me". folk etymologists, of course, prefer the more colorful "green grow the lillies" or "green grow the lilacs" explanations. these things are often guesswork at this far remove.


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#3216 - 06/04/00 07:30 AM Re: gringo/yankee
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
>But folks in the UK and Australia call us all Yanks. And South Americans call us all "Yanquis."

Yes. In Spain ‘Yanqui’ is synonym for North American and, I think, it happens almost everywhere outside USA.
May it be based on a Mark Twain novel?
By the way, I’m remembering a Disney film I saw when I was a kid, its Spanish name was ‘Un Yanqui en la corte de rey Arturo’. It was about an American who traveled in time and went to king Arthur’s court. Do you remember if it had the same title in English?.
May it be based on a Mark Twain novel?.



Juan Maria.

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#3217 - 06/04/00 09:12 AM Re: gringo/yankee
AnnaStrophic Offline
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JM,

Yep, Mark Twain wrote "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." I guess "Connecticut" is a tad superfluous for a foreign-language book/film title But I think the term precedes Twain. Maybe it comes from a Native American word?


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#3218 - 06/04/00 11:55 AM Re: gringo/yankee
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
Thank you!
I wasn’t speculating about the origin of the word ‘Yankee’ I’m sure that in a few days I’ll learn it. I was curious about the use of the word in the original title. Spanish distributors use to change film titles and this could have been one of those cases.
Do you know if the original film title included ‘Connecticut’ as in the book or was it cut as in Spain?.


Juan Maria.

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#3219 - 06/04/00 12:28 PM Re: gringo/yankee
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
a search of the IMDb turns up the following for "king arthur's court"

Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court, A (1978) (TV)
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1921)
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1949)
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1989) (TV)
Kid in King Arthur's Court, A (1995)
Young Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1995)
Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979)
(Spaceman in King Arthur's Court, A (1979))

None of these looks like Disney....


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#3220 - 06/04/00 03:09 PM Re:Non cartoon
juanmaria Offline
member

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 163
Loc: Malaga, Spain.
>None of these looks like Disney....

I was a kid when I watched this film on TV, maybe on the early seventies. Disney was a supposition. In my head it is mixed with Disney real actors films that I must have seen by the same time.
I have used 'real actors' as opposite of 'cartoon'. I have made it up. Is there an expression for that?.


Juan Maria.

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#3221 - 06/05/00 01:12 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Meta4 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/01/00
Posts: 13
Loc: Sydney, Australia
In Australia and the UK I understand that Americans are also referred to, nicely of course, as "septics" from the Cockney rhyming slang "septic tank".

I do love a good rhyming slang. My favourite is "syrup" for hairpiece/haircut. Then there's "boat", "dog", "rub-a-dub"... the list is endless.


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#3222 - 06/05/00 02:33 PM Re: gringo/yankee
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Meta4,
cute name! Could you please provide some enlightenment on your rhyme examples? Thanks to Dick Francis, this septic does at least understand the concept. I just don't know the particulars. The closest I could come for
syrup is 'hair up', and somehow I don't think that's it!
I can't even guess at the rest of yours. The only one I
recall now from Francis' book is "up the apples".


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#3223 - 06/06/00 05:38 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Rubrick Offline
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Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Speaking of which, what about the origin of "Yankee?" I used to know that, but in my dotage have forgotten. Interesting,
those of us who live in the South (the Dixie cups) reserve that term for those who live in the North. But folks in the UK
and Australia call us all Yanks. And South Americans call us all "Yanquis."

I believe that the word 'Yankee' comes from American Indian language. Like Colorado (Kolorado), Dakota (Dakotah), Kentucky (Kan -tuckee) and Detroit to name a few adopted Indian names, Yankee was chosen as the general term by which the Indians referred to the white settlers. In Sioux and Lacotah there were two names given for whites - 'Isatanka' for the Americans and 'Washechuska' for the British. I am unsure of the meanings but they may have something to do with the colours worn - i.e Red and Blue.

As for 'Yanks' - this is the diminutive of Yankees and is (or was) applied to all Americans who served in Europe in the two world wars. It is still used to a lesser respect in today's European English to refer to all Americans.


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#3224 - 06/06/00 05:41 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Rubrick Offline
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Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979)
(Spaceman in King Arthur's Court, A (1979))

None of these looks like Disney....

Being a child of the '70s I seem to remember this last one as being a Disney film. The name certainly fits the bill, anyway!


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#3225 - 06/06/00 05:44 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Rubrick Offline
addict

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Could you please provide some enlightenment on your rhyme examples? Thanks to Dick Francis, this
septic does at least understand the concept. I just don't know the particulars. The closest I could come for
syrup is 'hair up', and somehow I don't think that's it!

A cinch, jackie! Syrup of figs - wigs!!! Remember, you don't rhyme the known word. You build a phrase from it and rhyme that phrase.


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#3226 - 06/06/00 06:33 PM Syrup
Meta4 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/01/00
Posts: 13
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Syrup comes from the rhyme of "syrup and fig" which goes to "wig" therefore haircut/wig/toupee...

Another is "pony" for "not very good": "pony and trap" = crap

And "septic" comes from "septic tank" = yank


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#3227 - 06/06/00 10:08 PM Re: gringo/yankee
Lucy Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/10/00
Posts: 28
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
'... those of us who live in the South (the Dixie cups)..." Gosh, golly. How things do come up per chance. I have no idea what 'Dixie cups' refer to in the above, perhaps some-one could patiently explain ... BUT ... perhaps there might also be an incidental answer to something that I've often wondered about. Why on earth do we in Oz refer to small round tubs of ice-cream, characteristically bought at the cinema, as 'Dixies' ? Is there any connection at all, at all?


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#3228 - 06/08/00 08:46 PM Re: gringo/yankee
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Hi, Lucy--
Dixie cups are a brand of throwaway small paper cups,
designed to be pulled out of a dispenser next to a water
cooler or drinking fountain. I believe they were touted as
being more hygienic than regular glasses, or the kind of
fountain where the person in front of you might have put
his germy mouth right on the spicket. They became VERY
popular, even in private homes, during the polio scare
of the '50's.
I think the reason Anna used that term is that she lives in
"Dixieland". (Technically, I do too, but Kentucky was neutral during the American Civil War, and is not the "Deep South" geographically.)


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#3229 - 06/09/00 02:08 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Lucy Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/10/00
Posts: 28
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thank you Jackie. We have those water coolers (and cups) here too, but I have never heard the cups referred to as dixies. However, the application of 'dixies' to our little ice-cream 'buckets' makes sense.

'Spicket'?? Not used here at all, although I can guess at the meaning from your context. A useful word - wonder how long it would take to get it into common use here.


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#3230 - 06/09/00 06:52 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>The closest I could come for
syrup is 'hair up', and somehow I don't think that's it!

A cinch, jackie! Syrup of figs - wigs!!! Remember, you don't rhyme the known word. You build a phrase from it and rhyme that phrase.<<

Well--I was closer than I thought!




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#3231 - 06/09/00 07:05 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Lucy--
Isn't that one of the great fringe benefits of this Board?
Someone uses a word without even thinking about it, and
someone else sees it with amazement! I have enjoyed the
dialogues about different terms used in Great Britain,
Canada, and the "lands down-under" so much--even though I've
never heard of a lot of them! I never really gave much thought, before this, to needing an interpreter for another
native-English speaker!
Er--Lucy, your bio doesn't say, but did I pick up from one of the threads that you live in Great Britain (if you don't
mind)?


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#3232 - 06/09/00 10:23 AM Re: gringo/yankee
tsuwm Offline
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>'Spicket'?? Not used here at all

how 'bout "spigot" (faucet), a more standard spelling?


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#3233 - 06/09/00 10:26 AM Re: spickets and figs
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Lucy,
"Spicket" in the U.S. South may well be "spigot" in your neck.... I guess Dixie cups is an example of the brand name taking over the generic, as Jackie suggested. It's funny, though, the makers of Dixie cups live in the North of the US, not the South. If you ever get a chance, check out the makers of those little paper cups, both ice cream and drinking fountain. I'd be curious to know if they're made by a subsidiary of the Dixie folks.

As for "wig", I'd never have gotten that since I haven't a clue as to what "syrup of figs" is. A digestive aid, maybe?


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#3234 - 06/09/00 01:29 PM Re: spickets and figs
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Syrup of figs helps you go when you just can't.


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#3235 - 06/10/00 07:07 AM Re: spickets and figs
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>Syrup of figs helps you go when you just can't.<<

I guess the brevity of this post is what led me to note the
proximity (applicability??) of enthusiast!
Sorry, Jo!



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#3236 - 06/10/00 02:44 PM Re: spickets and figs
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>Syrup of figs helps you go when you just can't.<<

Jackie -

I seem to remember that Jo's line is a quotation verbatim from the advert for the product, circa 1950!

If it wasn't, it should be! And, incidentally, the brand name that I remember is "California Syrup of Figs".

Go figger!




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#3237 - 06/12/00 03:31 AM Re: gringo/yankee
Rubrick Offline
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Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> I think the reason Anna used that term is that she lives in
"Dixieland". (Technically, I do too, but Kentucky was neutral during the American Civil War, and is not the "Deep South"
geographically.)

I did not know this! This is presumably why Lincoln was in such a quandry during the war. He was a Kentuckian (despite his affiliations with the Hoosier state) and members of his family fought on both sides - though up until now I never knew why. If you can, read his autobiography which, next to that of Ulysses Grant, is one of the greatest works of factual literature to come out of the US.


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#3238 - 06/13/00 09:41 PM Re: gringo/yankee
Lucy Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/10/00
Posts: 28
Loc: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Jackie,

Don't mind at all. Am Down Under - Melbourne, where the Olympic Games aren't.




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#3239 - 06/15/00 12:53 PM Re: American terms
hpr Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/14/00
Posts: 4
Loc: Nebraska, USA
Hold on--I thought I just read something recently that "dixie" came from the French word for ten,"dix". This is a vague memory, but it had something to do with the money they were using...? Sound familiar, anyone?


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#3240 - 06/15/00 01:13 PM Re: dixie
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10522
Loc: this too shall pass
try doing a 'google' search on the phrase "dixie origin", without the quotes -- the first couple of hits should give you the whole magilla of possible etymologies...

http://google.com


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#3241 - 06/15/00 04:40 PM Re: dixie
hpr Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/14/00
Posts: 4
Loc: Nebraska, USA
Thanks, Michael!
The Google search was new to me. The dix note was the French currency in use by New Orleans banks during the war. However, there are several other explanations for the word's origin.
If I'm going to be reading this forum I'm going to need a new dictionary. Mine does not include the word "magilla". I assume, from context, it means a whole boat-load?



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#3242 - 06/15/00 04:58 PM Re: American terms
carita Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 1
According to my Colombian in-laws, the word gringo is derived from when the military came into the latin countries. The locals would reference their coloured clothing and tell them - "green go".




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#3243 - 06/16/00 02:23 PM Re: dixie
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>Mine does not include the word "magilla". I assume, from context, it means a whole boat-load?<<

There was a thread discussing Yiddish terms that have become common usage in English - look under Miscellany > Translations, for more.

Magilla, (or more correctly, "Megillah", means a long involved story or account <the whole megillah> (Webster)









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