Boston Globe 1889 article on hash-house lingo; questions

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Wed Jul 26 15:05:47 UTC 2006

In a Sept. 1, 2005 ads-l message Ben Zimmer presented excerpts from an 1889 Boston Globe article on hash-house lingo. Two brief sentences on potatoes leave me with several questions:
 "Potatoes had as many names as a Spanish princess or a bank cashier in Canada. Here are a few of them: Spuds, Murphies, T.D.'s, ancient orders or A.O.H.'s and St. Clairs.'"

My questions:
1) Why does a bank cashier in Canada have many names?
2) What is "T.D.'" an abbreviation of?
3) Why would potatoes be called "St. Clairs"?

     Any help would be much appreciated.

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society -

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