Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jul 16 02:42:45 UTC 2004
Barnhart: <<The word _mongo_ (derived perhaps from _mungo_, meaning
"inferior wool made from felted rags and wastes" [OED: 1857])>>
The form is exactly right and the semantic connection is possibly
acceptable but I doubt this derivation because this "mungo" is just too
unfamiliar a word in modern times.
One "Mongo" which was well known in the 1970's was the planet ruled by the
evil Ming in "Flash Gordon". However, I see no semantic connection.
Here is another possible derivation. Note that "mongo" means not only
"scavenged material" but also "scavenger" (e.g., in HDAS and in Green's
Cassell slang dictionary); which one is primary? The word "junkmonger" =
"junk dealer" has/had sufficient currency to be the etymon, I believe, but
is also uncommon enough that it might easily be construed as "junk monger"
= "junk scavenger" giving "monger" = "scavenger", which could be altered to
"mongo" = "scavenger" and/or used to derive "mongo" = "that which the
monger scavenges". "Scrapmonger" would be an alternative candidate etymon.
-- Doug Wilson
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