Antedating of Vamoose

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Apr 12 20:52:17 UTC 2005

On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 13:57:35 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 10:37:46 -0400, Baker, John <JMB at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
>>  Here's an 1849 example of "vamoose" (Merriam-Webster has 1859):
>>"Well, we'd better be a goin'," but _"Let's vamos,"_ or "Let's vamos the
>>   "Idioms and Provincialisms of the English Language," American Whig
>> Review, vol. 9, at 251, 254 (Mar. 1849) (via Cornell University Making
>> of America).  This review of Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms and
>> Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words includes
>> something of a survey of regional American usages.
>One of the works reviewed, Bartlett's _Dictionary of Americanisms_, has
>cites from 1848 for "vamos" as a verb:
>See also the OED2 entry for "vamoose", which has earlier examples of
>"vamos" as a loanword (at least in the imperative form) [...]
>MW's date of 1859 probably refers to this cite for "vamous", an antecedent
>for the "vamoose" spelling:
>1859 Slang Dict. 114 Vamous, to go, or be off.

Here's an 1848 cite for the "vamoose" spelling, from Early American

1848 _The Farmers' Cabinet_ 7 Sep. 3/1 Finding them not satisfactory, with
no respectable company, and that our fellow travellers were wiser than we,
in that they had secured first rate accommodations at the old city hotel,
we <i>vamoosed</i>, and rejoined our friends, glad to get second-best
accommodations in a full and respectable house where we enjoyed for
several days, privileges and reciprocations, which could not have been
enjoyed at the other house, as it was in no wise calculated to afford

--Ben Zimmer

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