antedating of 'putz' (1885)

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Jan 18 01:55:18 UTC 2004

No, not THAT meaning, you shmucks!

The 1902 OED cite for the Pennsylvania Dutch, Christmas Nativity display.  Possibly my all-time favorite OED cite, quoted here in part....

<<<1902 N.Y. Mag. 14 Dec. 15/2 Only the chosen few can afford to have a really impressive 'putz' which fills half a room, ....>>>

To be fair, I should quote the rest of the cite.

   <<<...and represents a landscape in miniature...This more elaborate 'putz' requires not only money for its erection, but artistic handiwork.>>

[As an aside, can we agree that the writer of that 1902 cite knew that 'putz' was also slang for 'penis'?  I mean, using the word 'erection' just gives it away.]

Anyway, using newspaperarchive, we find

26 Jan. 1885 _Oshkosh Daily Northwestern_  2/5

(evidently reprinted from the Youth's Companion)

<<The service over, the children disperse to their homes where Santa Claus has been busy giving finishing touches to the "Putz," which designation is applied to the whole Christmas decorations.>>

Sam Clements

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