Stanley Crouch ...

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 14 23:59:56 UTC 2009

Not only does the OED prefer {booty}, it tells us that it's "Prob. [_sic_]
an altered form of _botty_ *n."*
Except that "botty" is a nursery euphemism recorded it till recently, it
would seem, only in the works of English writers. The 1924 ex., from the
English novelist Ronald Firbank, is in BE, but the BE of a fictional
country.  (Firbank had originally titled his book _Sorrow in Sunlight_, but
his U.S. publisher (Brentano's) thought they'd sell more under the title
_Prancing Nigger_.  It is said that W.E.B DuBois enjoyed the book despite
its American title.

HDAS, under the pressure of numbers, went with {booty} as the lemma, though
{boody} is cross-referenced to it. I suppose SE "booty" could well be the
etymon, but so might something nobody's yet thought of.  Wolof?


On Sun, Jun 14, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

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> Subject:      Stanley Crouch ...
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> is the name of the author who has used in print the spelling "boody,"
> preferred by this writer, in place of the unfortunately probably
> now-standard spelling, "booty," which, among other things, falls
> together with "booty" in the pirate sense and in other senses (is
> anyone else familiar with the food product named, My Sister's Booty?)
> The reviewer in the NYTBR *sic*-ed "boody." It took me about a week to
> get that it was the spelling to which the *sic* referred, _boody_
> having been my mental image of the spelling of the term since I was
> about five years old.
> Of course, this is hardly the only time that a BE obscenity has been
> reduced to an ordinary, everyday term in standard English, cf. "hit
> that (ass)," "tap that (ass)," most recently. There was even a
> commericial in which a *woman* says about a passing man, "I could
> _hit_ that." Aaarrrggghhh!!!
> Though The Who don't mention it, a good reason to die before you get
> old is to avoid having to feel the language shift under your feet.
> BTW, to give the devil his - well, history its - due, The Bootery, the
> name of a former Saint Louis shoe store, was good for a chuckle
> amongst colored kids, even back in the day.
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -----
> -Mark Twain
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