[Ads-l] ditty-bag etymology and dittis, manchester stuff

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jul 11 21:00:51 UTC 2015


I find the etymology from dutty (for calico) plausible.   Add to Admiral W H Smyth's statement of 1867 that it “derives its name from the dittis or Manchester stuff of which it was once made”, the presence of cotton and thread in two places:


1)  Stephen's 1808 quotation has "A subscription for manufacturing Dittis or Manchester stuffs of thread and cotton ..."
.

2)  The OED's definition for "calico', sense 2.a:  "also, various cotton fabrics of European manufacture (sometimes also with linen warp)."


Of course, Stephan has now found two dittis where Michael had earlier seen none.


For those who haven't yet looked for "dutty bag", GBooks seems to have one instance, reprinted several times -- in a poem written by Linton Kwesi Johnson, by 1991, in I infer Jamaican Patois.


Joel

________________________________
 From: Michael Quinion <michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG>
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2015 3:38 PM
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] ditty-bag etymology and dittis, manchester stuff
 

> OED has ditty bag from c1860; that can easily be antedated by some
> decades. Here, my interest is etymology.
> 
> "Etymology:  Origin obscure: according to Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. it
> 'derives its name from the dittis or Manchester stuff of which it was
> once made'; but no evidence of this is given, nor is anything known of
> the stuff alleged." 

This interested me also, following a question from a subscriber. I found a 
possible origin in an Indian term:

  http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-dit2.htm

--
Michael Quinion
World Wide Words
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

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