chow, 1847

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Oct 27 22:28:38 UTC 2005

On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 17:16:56 -0400, George Thompson
<george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:

>This is kind of neat.  HDAS & OED has 1856 for "chow" = food.
>        THE CHINESE JUNK. [a long description; anchored off Staten
>Island, will be brought to Castle Garden; owned by Captain
>Kellett]  . . . we accepted Capt. Kellett's invitation to a little Chow-
>Chow (chaw-chaw, dinner) with him.  The dinner, though served on board
>the junk, was not composed of Chinese dishes, not a single rat or joint
>of a young puppy being on the table.
>        New-York Daily Tribune, July 12, 1847, p. 2, col. 5
>OED: 2. Pidgin-English and slang. Food, or a meal, of any kind. Also
>spec. = CHOW-CHOW

But isn't this a cite for "chow-chow"? That's dated to 1795.

chow-chow, n. and a.
[According to Col. Yule, ‘pigeon-English’; of uncertain origin.]
 1. n. A mixture or medley of any sort; e.g. mixed pickles or preserves.
Also, food of any kind. Ind. and China.
1795 A. ANDERSON Narr. Brit. Embassy China (Gloss.), Chow-chow..victuals
or meat.

--Ben Zimmer

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