Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Jul 6 15:21:30 UTC 2006

On Jul 6, 2006, at 7:24 AM, Damien Hall forwarded:

> ==============================
> Message 2: Meaning of 'Bobonkt'
> Date: 02-Jul-2006
> From: Carlota Smith <carlotasmithmail.utexas.edu>
> Subject: Meaning of 'Bobonkt'
> I am trying to find the meaning of a word used in the American West
> during the
> civil was period: the word is bobonkt. It appeared in the following
> sentence in
> a personal diary from 1863:
> I went to get some bobonkt
> so it's apparently a mass noun. I have looked in dictionaries that
> I found in
> the library, including the OED, and on Google, without success.
> I'd appreciate any suggestions as to the word's meaning, and of
> where to look
> for the word.

i'll leave this to those who are adept at such searches, adding only
that the spelling is quite odd.  i'd guess that it was either an
attempt at spelling by ear (in which case, a partial mishearing might
be involved -- a b for p, for instance, or mishearing of one of the
vowels) or a transcription error  (if the word was found in
transcribed or scanned-in material rather than viewed in the original
manuscript).  or of course both.  worse still, a slip of the pen
might be involved; some part of the "bobo" piece might be an
anticipation or perseveration, for instance.

as in all such cases, you'd hope that the surrounding context (not
given here) might give a bit of the clue.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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