RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Thu Jul 29 14:11:04 UTC 1999

In a message dated 7/29/99 1:51:36 AM, t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU writes:

<< Family tradition stuck me with a different folk etymology for "jaywalk":
starting out in a proper straight line, but then curving off in another
direction, as in the shape of the letter J.  >>

See “Two Notes: The Origin of JAYWALKING; The Pronunciation of Foreign
Loanwords in English.” COMMENTS ON ETYMOLOGY, 1995 (A follow-up on an earlier
note in the same place by Eric Hamp]:

"I'm with Eric [Hamp] about jaywalking: somewhere along the way I constructed
the etymology in my mind in which the JAY- describes the actual path of the
jaywalker--curving just before he or she hits the curb on the other side of
the street, thus tracing the actual path of a "J"--as opposed to the path of
an "L" which one would follow when one crossed sharply at a corner. I have no
idea if this is historically right (nor can anyone else, I imagine), but it
seems to me at least as plausible as the "bumpkin" solution--and it gets some
credence from the fact that Eric and I have constructed it totally

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