"St. Clairs" [was: Boston Globe 1889 article on hash-house lingo]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jul 26 19:51:32 UTC 2006

I'm sure I'm stating the obvious, but that hasn't stopped me
before.  Spuds:  From County Clare?  And Google tells me there are at
least two Saint Clair counties in the U.S.  But whether these are
named after St. Clair ("died c. 397 of natural causes", says one
site, disappointing one looking for sensation), or both they and the
term for the spud are misspellings, I do not hazard a guess.  Even
Google has a few spellings of "County Clair" referring to Ireland.


At 7/26/2006 11:05 AM, you wrote:
>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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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