Cup of Joe

Wed Jun 19 04:41:56 UTC 2002

Now that I've had a chance to look at RHHDAS:
I too always have assumed that there was a connection between joe and java, but the sounds are not terribly close and the only real connections seemed to be contextual.  On the other hand, the theory quoted in my earlier message just has an improbable feel to it.  
The first two quotes from RHHDAS may be relevant.  The first quote is from Irwin, American Tramp and Underworld Slang (1930):  "Joe. - Coffee."  So the earliest use isn't in the Navy after all, though of course 1930 is late enough that a Navy derivation is still possible.
The second quote, from Erdman's Reserve Officer's Manual (1931):  "Jamoke, Java, Joe.  Coffee.  Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from . . .  Jilpot.  Coffee pot.  A corruption of 'joe-pot.'"  So the connection is also with jamoke, which dates back to 1895 in RHHDAS.  And cuppa jamoke ==> cuppa joe seems an entirely plausible progression.
So I guess the Navy's theory can't entirely be ruled out, but a derivation from jamoke seems far more likely.
John Baker

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: Donald M Lance [mailto:lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU] 
	Sent: Tue 6/18/2002 9:53 PM 
	Subject: Re: Cup of Joe

	I've always assumed that 'joe' was directly related to 'java'.

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