antedating of "cancan" (hoochy-coochy)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Jan 10 20:32:13 UTC 2003

In a message dated 1/10/03 1:31:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
george.thompson at NYU.EDU writes:

> HDAS and OED agree that the first appearance of "hootchy-kootchy" is in
> as an expression, a greeting, used by a minstrel show performer known as
> Billy "hoochy-coochy" Rice.

A totally different history of "hoochy-koochy" can be found at URL
which claims that the "hoochy-coochy" was introduced to the United States at
the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 by an impresario named Sol
Bloom and that it was entangled with the "belly dance", a name that also
arose at the 1893 Exposition.

"When you consider the tightly-corseted fashions worn by the American women
of the Victorian era, it's no wonder the dancing prompted Sol Bloom to
advertise the shows as "Belly Dancing", a name that in North America has
stuck with Oriental dance for over a century, along with the unfortunate
association with the titillating "hoochy koochy". Modern-day Oriental dance
artists are still trying to dislodge that."

The Web site presents some evidence that the term "hoochy-koochy" is derived
from Algerian or Arabic song titled "Kradoutja," which may date to circa 1600.

There is no mention on this Web site of minstrel shows.

I don't know how to judge this theory, but it's interesting to read.

>  Is there any chance that either Hootchie or Cootchie can be Indian words?

Atlanta Georgia is on the Chattahoochee River.  It's certainly possible that
Billy Rice or some other minstrel originally called himself "Chattahoochee
Billy" or something similar.

Web site URL says this
"the word “hooch” comes from Alaska. “The Indians of the archipelago
distilled a drink they called hoochinoo” "

     - Jim Landau

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