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"WithOut Papers."

Boy does *that ever smell of internet legend.


#51832 01/08/02 03:42 PM
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Boy does *that ever smell of internet legend.

Don't shoot the messenger.


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US Immigrations designation "WithOut Papers."

I've read in several places (Urban Legends, and I think alt.English.usage FAQ) that that is a folk etymology. But I don't know what the real one is. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English (http://www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/d7ction.html) implies that the term referred to university students working WithOut Pay in the 1920s. Since I've read other things that say it's not an acronym, I'm not sure I believe that. Anyone have a better source?


#51834 01/08/02 04:14 PM
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Derivations from acronyms start off with two strikes against them (should this be in Weekly Themes?) and I think the term is a little too wide spread to be of Newfoundland origin (no offense).

My favorite etymological source goes with Italian guappo. http://www.bartleby.com/61/81/W0218100.html


#51835 01/08/02 04:36 PM
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Looking at your dictionary, Bean, (and thanks for the link, it's going in *my bookmarks) I would guess we have something completely other to 'wop' meaning Italian.


#51836 01/08/02 06:33 PM
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I think the term is a little too wide spread to be of Newfoundland origin (no offense).

Oh, I never thought that! I just wondered if there was some other common origin for both Newfoundland use and the person-of-Italian-origin-derogatory use. There was a large Portuguese presence here at one time, and that is reflected in some of the place names.

When did the word enter common use? It's possible that Newfoundlanders at the time heard it being used elsewhere for immigrants and applied it to the workers (who seemed to be brought in From Away) referred to in the Nfld. dictionary definition. Really, the dictionary isn't much help on the etymology of that one.


#51837 01/08/02 06:41 PM
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common origin for both Newfoundland use and the person-of-Italian-origin-derogatory use.

I think we've got two independent origin words that just happen to be spelled the same. The etymology given in the Newfie Dictionary looks OK to me and is of an era with lots of similar type words. See WAVES, WAC, WRENs, SPARs, etc. All these, I believe (tsuwm could veto me here) came from the '40s.


#51838 01/08/02 07:15 PM
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uh, faldage, "wop" is not a "similar type word" to WAVE, WAC, WREN, SPAR, etc.


#51839 01/09/02 11:51 AM
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Keiva, I don't know what those other acronyms Faldage noted stand for, but here's what the Newfoundland Dictionary says about the Newfoundland use of the word wop(NOT the same as the general use):

wop2 n Volunteer worker from other countries doing odd jobs at the International Grenfell
Mission, Labrador.
[1917] 1972 GORDON 99 Due to arrive any minute ... were a species known as WOPS.
They represented the unskilled Volunteer force that Grenfell gathered in from the
universities and other sources of supply. They willingly undertook all the odd jobs that
were so necessary to the running of the Hospitals, such as stoking, digging, unloading
freight, or anything else. 1920 WALDO 145 'Bill' Norwood—one of the volunteer 'wops'
building the Battle Harbour reservoir. 1941 WITHINGTON 170 The work of these 'wops,'
the word for the aides who came in the summer WithOut Pay, was very
desultory—unloading cargoes of supplies, sorting clothes and arranging them for sale,
and doing odd chores. P 130-67 ~s: summer workers, usually students, who work at the
Grenfell Hospital without pay.


It came up because of another definition under "bay":

bay wop: contemptuous (city) term for an 'outport' Newfoundlander (P 245-56).
1970 JANES 146 She was originally a young baywop whose family had recently moved
to Milltown and settled there. 1979 O'FLAHERTY 175 'Baywops' [in Janes' novel, House
of Hate] are generally seen ... as semi-retarded and contemptible.


Just wanted to clarify a bit, since I don't think either of us had posted the definitions we were discussing.


#51840 01/09/02 01:57 PM
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You tell'em, Bean.

Keiva, it's like the difference between JAP and Jap. Although both are patronizing and contemptuous terms, the former is an acronym which expands to Jewish American Princess and the latter is a shortening of the word Japanese.


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