"skunked" from "Chicagoed"

carljweber carljweber at MSN.COM
Wed Mar 6 04:04:07 UTC 2002

It looks like "skunked 'em" might have developed into "Chicagoed" 'em.
Dictionary of Americanisms: 1891 Chicagoed: "equivalent of 'skunked'
or beat out of sight.baseball team. phenomenal successes. Other competing
clubs which ended the game without scoring were said to have been

1840 "skunk of a person."
1850 Amer. Whig. Review: "A severe defeat at a
game of draughts was formerly and probably now is, termed 'a skunk'."

Gerald Cohen said
>   But who developed the sports expression "skunked"?  The average
>sports fan probably has no idea about the etymology of "Chicago."

Not the average, but a good case could be made that 1890s Americans and
Chicagoans were much closer than sports fans today to Amerindian names and
imagery. In 1890 Custer had stood last as recently as '76. The many
unindexed rewritten editions of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, after 1850, national
expert on all things Amerindian, had for decades been grist for the national
intellectual mill. Schoolcraft, though he, over the years, revised his
etymology of Chicago in other ways, he consistently said Chicago is named
for the skunk. In what social circles is now unknown, but people would have
in the 1890s been hip to Schoolcraft's Chicago = skunk, sufficiently hip to
make punning remarks.

>_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"

Carl Jeffrey Weber

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