bobonkt---(mystery solved?)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Jul 15 02:56:37 UTC 2006

My thanks to Carlota Smith for her e-mail below, which I now share with ads-l. Thanks too to Arnold Zwicky for drawing the issue to her attention and to the people she contacted who then responded to her.  Their combined efforts seem to have borne fruit.

Gerald Cohen


From: Carlota S. Smith [mailto:carlotasmith at]
Sent: Fri 7/14/2006 6:52 PM
To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
Subject: bobonkt

Hi,  thanks for your comment about the meaning of 'bobonk', whhich
Arnold Zwicky forwarded to me.  I think that the meaning may have
been unearthed, as below:

bobonkt might also be known as bobonet or bobonknit.  It is the
process of winding yarn onto a bobbin or bobbins for knitting.  They
did find references to bobonet and boboknit in conjunction with
sewing and/or knitting for military uniforms.

This is via Gail Martin at the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives
in Old Washington Historic State Park. She didn't know the meaning of
bobonkt, but she contacted Russell Baker at the Arkansas History
Commission who put a team of crack interns on the project.  They came
up with the above.

>I also received a similar suggestion from Jonathan Wilson: It could be
>"bobonet", which can be found a few times in the old newspapers, I believe
>as a variant or misspelling of "bobinet"/"bobbinet"/"bobbin-net", which
is/was a type of net, like tulle or something like lace.

        Carlota Smith


Carlota S. Smith
Centennial Professor of Linguistics
Dept of Linguistics
University of Texas
Austin, Tx 78712-1196

Phone: office: 512-471-1701

email:CarlotaSmith at

The American Dialect Society -

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