New retroacroetymythostupidnym

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Aug 23 05:10:55 UTC 2005

On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 00:29:03 -0400, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

>>1)  Derived from a Tagalog word for "prostitute," which also led to the
>>term "poagie bait," which refers to candy bars, soda, ice cream, etc.
>>2)  Derived from the acronym POG (Person Other than Grunt).
>>I doubt the latter explanation, simply because popular entymology is
>>frequently wrong when concerned with acronyms ....
>Absolutely right to doubt these IMHO.
>"Pogue" is used like "punk" to mean "catamite" or "passive (male)
>homosexual". I think it MAY be derived from Polari < Italian "poco" =
>"little". [Alternative: Conceivably it could be from the name of a fish.]
>[Another alternative: Could it be from the Tagalog word "pogi" below?]
>I'm sure it'll be in the next volume of HDAS. It dates from the1940's
>according to Chapman's slang dictionary.
>I think this "pogue" is likely the origin of "pogy bait" in naval slang.

Yabbut as someone on the soc.history.medieval thread pointed out, "pog(e)y
bait" dates back to 1918 (see OED). So if "pogue" is the origin of "pogey
bait", why don't we have exx. of "pogue" in military contexts until WWII?

Then again, if there really is a Tagalog derivation, then an origin during
the Span-Am War would make sense. Perhaps it's lost in the mists of time
like "googoo/gook".

--Ben Zimmer

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