[Ads-l] Heard: "bug juice"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 31 16:53:34 UTC 2014

DARE is also worth a look. It has this under the "soft drink" sense:

1975-83 DARE File WI, Bug juice--Kool-aid; NEng, Bug juice is Kool-aid;
heard at every summer camp I've ever gone to in New England; NY, At
Boy Scout camp in Stony Point, N.Y. in the 1950s, I recall, bug juice
was (?still is) a (the) term for a sort of generic Kool-Aid of
different flavors.

On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 11:23 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> HDAS, the most nearly definitive slang reference for the first 15/26 of the
> alphabet, has more info on this.
> On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:47 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> >
> > At 12/31/2014 03:01 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >
> > >as the term for an elixir that is drunk at sleep-away camp.
> >
> > Heard by me circa 1950 at sleep-away camps up the Hudson River and in
> > far upper Vermont, and spoken by all including natives of New York Ciity.
> >
> > >A casual search
> > >takes it back to 1868 as the name for various kinds of drinks, as a term
> > >for "bug-spray," as a term for "yeast," and as a term for the "honey-dew"
> > >exuded by aphids.
> >
> > No point in trying to identify specific ingredients.  That would be
> > like trying to determine what was the origin of your college
> > cafeteria's "mystery meat".
> >
> > Not in OED (which says only "bad whisky"), but in UrbanDictionary,
> > "bug juice 2".  The sleep-over-camp comestible came in the same
> > vehicle as UrbanDictionary's sense 1:  "A sugary drink mixed in vast
> > quantities from a mysterious powder commonly served on US Navy
> > vessels in the enlisted men's mess. Can also be used to clean
> > brass."  (No, not by ship, but in a powder.)
> >
> > My recollection is that we consumers a bright, distasteful red color
> > was a necessary characteristic in order to apply the term.
> >
> > >I know it only as old-school slang for "soy sauce," as used by my mother
> > >and others of her congeries. She must have learned it in St. Louis, Asian
> > >food being unknown in the black Marshall, Texas, of both her day and my
> > >day. I used to get my country cousins ROTFLTAO just by naming a couple of
> > >ordinary dishes, like "egg fu-yong" or "kung-pao shrimp" or even
> > >"chop-suey." Even in StL, the first Chinese restaurant in the 'hood, Yee's
> > >Cafe, didn't open till 1950. OTOH, there was the once-stereotypical
> > >Chinese *laundry* that dated back to who-knows-when.

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

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