Origin of "hoopie"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Apr 19 17:31:16 UTC 2008

Wilson wrote:
> There was Major Hoople, a character in the cartoon, Our Boarding House.
> More recently, there was the band, Mott The Hoople.

Jon wrote:
> The band took its name from the 1966 novel by Willard Manus.

And then Wilson wrote:

> Don't leave me hanging, Jon! Who / what was "Mott The Hoople" and
> how'd he / it get that name?

And then Jon wrote:
> I read the book so long ago (1970?) that all I can recall is that the hero was
> named Mott and that he was a lunkhead.  It obviously didn't grab me, but it
> did contribute a few cites to HDAS.
>  This site refreshes my memory only slightly:
>  http://www.hunter-mott.com/books/mott_the_hoople.html

There's a searchable edition on Google Books:


"Hoople" comes from Major Hoople, as Mott explains on p. 17:

The story of my life, I was ready to admit. Every time the scenario
calls for derring-do, who appears but Major Hoople, of comic strip
fame. The fat, bumbling slob in "Our Boarding House." ... I had to
laugh and admit, "This is my destiny, to be a Hoople."

--Ben Zimmer

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

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