"mink" (n.) = 'a black, a Negro'?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun May 10 03:33:13 UTC 2009

Joel S. Berson wrote:
> ...
> "At 10Q.M. de moss spiceable brack folk ob stinkation gan show he
> head from ebery treet and ally, like so many Mohe-choah Mink in a mud-bank ..."
> I presume "mink" here means 'a black/Negro person', from "mink
> n.1  3.a.  ... thick glossy dark brown fur".  And "mohe-choah" is 'mocha' (?).
> Thus not in OED draft rev. Mar. 2009.  Nor in Chapman or
> Wentworth/Flexner, the only two American slang dictionaries on my poor shelf.

Nothing on my shelf either, at a glance. But there is/was the expression
"black as a mink", which was used early enough (at G. Books from 1815)
and which probably accounts for the "mink" allusion. At G. Books I see a
few 19th-century instances of 'black' men named/nicknamed "Mink"

I reckon "moch[o]a" is probably right, but I'm not sure why it's used
here, whether some mink were called "mocha" or whether it's just to say
"black" again (but "mocha" is/was less dark than "black", right?). My
OED shows a "mocha" referring to the color of a cat (?relevance).

-- Doug Wilson

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

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