nooking (necking? nookie?)

paulzjoh paulzjoh at MTNHOME.COM
Tue Oct 4 10:22:18 UTC 2005

Since our family authority on Yiddish (my wife's grandmother) has died, I
can no longer state with any authority but, wasn't there a Yiddish
----- Original Message -----
From: "Benjamin Zimmer" <bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 1:57 AM
Subject: nooking (necking? nookie?)

> I came across two 1923 references to "nooking" in Atlanta Consitution
> articles by Helen Bullitt Lowry on the subject of flappers:
> -----
> 1923 _Atlanta Constitution_ 10 June (Magazine) 11/1 The latest slang for
> "petting" is "nooking." Let that tell the tale.
> -----
> 1923 _Atlanta Constitution_ 24 June (Magazine) 10/3 This is a basic
> principle - this thing of not frightening the men. It seems to affect the
> technique equally of the two outstanding types of 1923's flapper: These
> two types are the "sheika" which is the feminine of sheik in Webster's
> Unabridged of the slang of 1923), and the athletic girl who is just the
> one-of-us-boys type. ... But this season's sheika has to be up on the
> metaphysics of nooking. For the first time since the salons of the
> eighteenth century, pseudo-clever conversation and daring ideas in girls
> are being not only tolerated, but actively encouraged.
> -----
> "Nooking" may have been a playful variant of "necking", evoking the
> secluded "nooks" where such activities took place. Could this also have
> been the forerunner of "nooky/nookie" (OED/MWCD/HDAS 1928)? OED and MWCD
> tentatively suggest a connection to the noun "nook", and "nooking" might
> provide the missing link.
> --Ben Zimmer

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