hautboy=ho boy=oboe=hobo?

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Mon Jan 26 22:06:24 UTC 2004

Am I simply rehashing someone else's ideas here?

_Hautboy_ shows up in the 16th century as a name for what we call today an oboe. 

The name as applied to the reeded instrument was spelled in many ways over the years, a common one being _ho boy_  .  Not hard to imagine both the English and the Americans saying the word this way.

The whole _clinker_ in the derivation of the word "hobo"(which doesn't appear until 1888) is that pesky cite found by the "growling" Barry Popik.  He cites from 1848, "A year's bronzing and 'ho-boying' about among the mountains of that charming country called Mexico, has given me a slight dash of the Spanish".  

What I propose is that the writer of that 1848 cite was making a play on the word _ho boy_ which he knew was an oboe and he was slyly saying _hobo_ .  

And I know that nay-sayers will suggest too long a time between cites. 

Or maybe I'm just tired of being cooped up this winter.

Sam Clements

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