Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue May 1 22:31:14 UTC 2001

"Shypoke" is common in Minnesota too.  In fact, I've never heard
"shitepoke" before this exchange; then again, in writing it would be
referred to as 'blue heron' (isn't a bittern different?).

At 10:01 AM 5/1/01 -0700, you wrote:
>I've heard this bird name only as "shypoke"--from the Ozarks, where the
>birds are numerous along the White River in Arkansas. No matter what the
>etymology might be, the current connection with defecation/bathroom is
>likely to stem from the printed version of the name rather than its spoken
>version, which clearly contains a long vowel. The "shy" could then be
>ascribed to either euphemism or popular etymology.
> > As I recall, "shitepoke" was in OED since the
> > 14th Century.  Compounded of shite-, "shit;"
> > and -poke, "bag."   Usually referred to the blue
> > heron or a bittern.....(a satirical Boston broadside
> > of the early 1770's likened British troops disem-
> > barking to "shitepokes....running to and fro on the
> > beach.")

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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