quare -- back by popular demand

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Mar 4 11:24:08 UTC 2009

On Tue, Mar 03, 2009 at 09:02:15PM -0500, George Thompson wrote:
> Theft of Alpaca.  -- A man named Edward Lawson was this morning brought in . . . , charged with stealing 10 yards of Alpaca worth $5. . . .  He was very much down at being caught, and said that he had always been a "quare" man until this morning, when he got drunk and took to the cross.
> New York Morning Express, January 21, 1846, p. 7, col. 1
> So:  If this is a typo for Square, it at least isn't my typo.  And since the OED's second meaning for Quare more or less fits here, I suppose that it isn't a typo.
> JS -- nothing in the paragraph indicates that the speaker was Irish, though he may have been.

Many thanks. Not only is it likely that he was Irish, but at
this exact time it seems to have been particularly common in
Co. Down and Co. Armagh, both in the north, which would go
well with this word being a northern Irish one:




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

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