jassak and baseball slang

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Dec 1 06:56:22 UTC 2004

On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 17:51:06 -0600, Mullins, Bill
<Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

>"The Council of War," _Baseball Magazine_, October, 1916, No. 6, p. 25
>"There, there! Cut it out! Some of you split them two jassaks out before
>they kill each other."
>"The New Signals," _Baseball Magazine_, October, 1918, No. 6, p. 492
>"But Wharke here has ears like a jassack, and they could be seen a mile
>Perhaps a corruption of Jackass???

Yes, it looks like a bass-ackwards alteration.

Earliest Newspaperarchive cites:

  Portsmouth (Ohio) Times, May 25, 1872, p. 2
  THE Bible says thou shalt not commit muzzling the oxen and
  jassacks, but says nothing about dogs -- let them be muzzled,
  city paps.

  (New Philadelphia) Ohio Democrat, November 12, 1891, p. 1
  They were dwarfs with humps on thar backs and heads like
  jass acks.

  Newark (Ohio) Daily Advocate, September 07, 1897, p. 2
  The fact is gradually stealing into the minds of the Foraker
  lieutenants that Hanna is trying to make a political jassack
  out of Foraker.

Guess it was an Ohio thang early on.

--Ben Zimmer

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