"Polka spots" (1846)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed May 30 06:33:40 UTC 2001

>    The MOA (Mich.) search considers this as "polka spotvest" rather than
> "polka-spot vest."

The search engine's opinion is irrelevant, IMHO.

The image of the printed page is at


The sentence in question (upper-middle column 2) reads "Cravat, Polka
spot--vest, white ground, sprinkled with gnats." -- with a long dash, not a
hyphen. More conventional punctuation nowadays might call for a semicolon:
"Cravat, Polka spot; vest, white ground, sprinkled with gnats." That is,
the cravat is being described as "Polka spot", while the vest is being
described as having a "white ground, sprinkled with gnats".

The modern equivalent would be something like: "Necktie, polka-dot; vest,
white with speckles", assuming that "gnat" here means "speckle" (I suppose
it could instead be some kind of conventional small figure which is now
largely forgotten -- is it recognizable to any of the savants?).

-- Doug Wilson

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