fout(re) > hoot(er): the RHHDAS story

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 31 10:24:12 UTC 2000

>Besides, "hoot" is well-known as an alternative for "poot" (fart) and not
>to give one of those is equally well-known. I'm for "hoot" = "fart" (while
>we are in the area of speculation).
Curiously, perhaps, the RHHDAS doesn't list this equivalence under
HOOT.  It traces our minimizer ('hoot' glossed as 'the least bit, a
whit, a damn) to 'hooter', following the OED here, while pointing out
the existence of  'a hoot in hell' (which doesn't seem to sustain the
'foutre' connection particularly well, although there's no doubt some
alliterative reinforcement here).  As for 'hooter', it officially is
[orig.unkn.], but the RHHDAS does contain a reference to a Bartlett's
of 1859 that takes it to be 'probably a corruption of IOTA', which is
of course the alternate form of the minimizer JOT I brought up
earlier.  No mention of 'foutre' here.  (Other HOOTERs, for noses,
breasts, telephones, and joints, all fall under hooter-2, as does
dInIs's well-known sense of HOOT above:  the sixth sense (hey, good
name for a movie) in the hooter-2 entry is 'a breaking of wind', with
a relation to Australian slang HOOT 'to stink' and a citation from a
willing and eager U. of Tennessee volunteer:  'Man, it stinks in
here.' 'Did you pop off a hooter?'


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