toke n. 2 antedated (?) to 1961

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Jun 22 09:22:19 UTC 2012

S. Eisiminger,  "Etymology Unknown...," American Speech 59 (1984) 92  has 1970 and some discussion, including suggestions that it might derive from a "clip of token." OED has 1969, "Origin uncertain: compare toke v" [attested from 1952]. Liberman bibliography has none [but toke, dry bread (slang) [i.e. OED n. 1 "Origin uncertain"], Mackay, Charles, All the Year Round [London] 1874:9 "Toke--Dry bread; toc (French argot or slang), false gold, anything ugly, deceptive or of bad quality. Gaelic, tog [/p. 10] to swell up, to rise, like dough, with the yeast, to puff out, something to fill the stomach with."]. Green's, not checked. HDAS?

Evergreen Review v. 5 no. 17 Mar.-April 1961. Lew Welch, "The Man Who Played Himself,'' pp. 97-105 [set in San Francisco].

p. 102: Jimmy....decides to stand right there and look directly at her narrow snatch while taking his toke.

P. 104: So, back to the bedroom the sure last twist of the final dial: one more long and oh so languorous toke on the finest of all pipes....

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society -

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