Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jul 7 23:39:18 UTC 2006

>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.

First, I believe the handwritten original must be scrutinized carefully.
Even 'neat' handwriting is usually not entirely unambiguous when used in an
unfamiliar word. If the word is taken from a printed transcription, who
knows what the original had?

Second, more context is needed. Does the word appear elsewhere in the
document? Where did somebody go to "get some bobonkt"? Into the kitchen?
Into town? Into the woods? Why did someone need "some bobonkt"? Is the
author eccentric in spelling? Does he use abbreviations routinely?

I don't find a good candidate word at a glance.

A wild guess -- and *ONLY* a wild guess, one possibility among many -- in
the absence of extended context: whiskey: something like "BOurBON KenTucky"

-- Doug Wilson

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