East Texas blacks shake hands with Oxford University

Michael Quinion editor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Sat Jul 24 08:45:23 UTC 2004

Wilson Gray wrote:

> After we moved to Saint Louis, we still returned to Marshall, TX, on a
> regular basis. While there ca.1950, the big colored boys taught us
> young peppers new "bad" words not to be used in the presence of the
> 'rents. One of these was "plunk," a slang term for wine. I never heard
> "plunk" used for wine or anything else anywhere else that I've lived.
> Years later, I read somewhere or other that "plonk" was a slang term
> for wine used at Oxford University. I was amazed by the similarity of
> the two terms, Years after that, I met an Englishman who was a graduate
> of Oxford and, of course, the first thing that I asked him was whether
> it was true that "plonk" was a slang term for wine used at Oxford. He
> replied, "No, that's not true." And, of course, I was sorely
> disappointed. But then he continued, "We say 'plunk,''' And I was
> stunned.

In addition, Australians use (or have used) "plink". In fact, "plonk"
and its relatives are first recorded in Australia and come from the
exposure of troops (linguistically and gustationally) to the French
"vin blanc" in the First World War. Until you wrote, I wasn't even
sure that this set of words was known in the USA ...

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at worldwidewords.org>
Web: <http://www.worldwidewords.org/>

More information about the Ads-l mailing list