ho 'whore' (What Santa Claus might say in some dialects?)

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Oct 8 18:32:43 UTC 2013

Larry, scholars of the Jacobean stage generally concur that Ford's "'Tis Pity She's a Ho" was a sequel to Dekker and Webster's "Westward, Ho" and Jonson, Chapman, and Marston's "Eastward, Ho."

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Laurence Horn [laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 1:39 PM

On Oct 8, 2013, at 12:21 PM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> I teach a one-hour-per-week freshman seminar called "Lore and Language of College Life."  Yesterday a student had introduced the expression (proverb? folk belief? jocularly-pretended folk belief?) "The bigger the O, the bigger the ho."  ("O," btw, means 'circular dangling ear-ring').
> As a coda to that discussion, one student inquired, with wide eyes, "Where does that word 'ho' come from?"  A couple of other students also expressed curiosity.  (They all knew the word "ho," of course.)  I could hardly believe that the etymology of "ho" has become opaque so quickly!

It's really a sad commentary that students today are no longer familiar with the classic Jacobean tragedy "Tis Pity She's a Ho".


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