"skunked" from "Chicagoed"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Tue Mar 5 01:49:41 UTC 2002

  At 5:47 PM -0600 3/4/02, carljweber wrote:
>I had posted about "skunked" not too long ago. While researching Barry
>Popik's references on "Windy City," in the Dictionary of Americanisms, I
>came across the term "Chicagoed." In the 1890s, Chicago had a team that was
>unbeatable. The expression had developed among sportswritters -- "Chicagoed
>'em," which meant the other team didn't score. That is my etymology for
>"skunked," because as every linguist today knows (especially
>McCafferty/Swenson/Vogel) Chicago means "skunk."

   But who developed the sports expression "skunked"?  The average
sports fan probably has no idea about the etymology of "Chicago."
_Dickson's Baseball Dictionary_ mentions zero as one of the meanings
for "skunk." (1943 example: "We beat them three to skunk."). Here's a
pure speculation: A team that got whomped without even scoring might
say: "We stunk like a skunk."  So the team that beat them "skunked"

---Gerald Cohen

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