Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 23 14:38:30 UTC 2012

Joel, do any of your 18th  C. Puritan buddies use minced oaths like "Jiminy
Crickets!" and "Doggone it!"

Such oaths aren't much in evidence till well into the 19th C., but the same
historian friend had "read somewhere" that they were created as euphemisms
by the Puritans.  (He's a political, not a linguistic, historian.)

Sounds plausible (always a danger signal)  but the gap in attestation is
more than considerable. Also, the Puritan population may have been too
small and too localized to sustain much of a repertoire.


On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:09 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: ague
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 10/23/2012 12:29 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Jonathan Lighter
> ><wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> > > "og"
> >
> >I went with [ejg] for dekkids. However, I've yet to have occasion to
> >speak this word. I have the vague sense that [ejgju] is the way to go.
> >Don' know, f' sho. I also thought that this disease had been cured
> >back in the Elizabethan era.
> Since I live in the 18th century, I've had much occasion to read
> it.  (Conversation is rarer.)
> There was much confusion, or conflation, of disease and symptoms, so
> into and past the 18th century "ague" might refer to either.  (Even
> the OED lumps both together, under sense 1.)  When "ague" was used to
> refer to a disease it might be one of several having the ague symptom
> of "acute or high fever ... esp. when recurring periodically" and
> accompanied by "an intense feeling of cold and shivering" (OED).
> I suspect now "ague" is most associated with malaria.  But there is
> still imprecision:
> 2002   J. Thompson Wide Blue Yonder iv. 273   You weren't supposed to
> go to India during the monsoons... People caught agues and fevers and
> funguses.
> (Altho' I doubt not a Practitioner of Physick would not speak thusly.)
> Joel
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