"mountain boomer"

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Apr 25 19:05:45 UTC 2001

The term "mountain boomer" has a few senses referring to various types
of animals (the red squirrel, the mountain beaver, and the collared
lizard), and a sense referring to people, = 'hillbilly'. This sense
only slightly postdatess the 'red squirrel' sense.

Does anyone have an idea about the derivation of the 'hillbilly'
sense? The quots in DARE (from Kephart, and a LAGS informant) link it
to the 'squirrel' sense, but since these quots are so much later than
either word arose, it could just be a later association with the
common squirrel word; I don't know if we can actually assume that the
'hillbilly' sense is a transferred application of the term for a
squirrel. And what about the _boomer_--DARE suggests (s.v. "boomer,"
which used alone postdates "mountain boomer" by 20 years) that it's
from standard _boom_ 'to make a hollow sound', but surely the
squirrel, or the beaver or the lizard, doesn't make such a sound.


Jesse Sheidlower

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