[Ads-l] Put Up Your Dukes - Duke of York?

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 19 08:29:46 UTC 2016


JL's "Historical Dictionary of American Slang" suggests a connection
between the "duke" and fortune-telling/palmistry although JL also
included the 1874 citation with the rhyming slang explanation.

{Begin excerpt}
duke n. l.a. a hand or (usu. pl.) fist; (pl., in 1974 quot.) fisticuffs.

[*1839 Brandon Poverty (gloss): Dookin--fortune-telling.]
[1859 Matsell Vocab. 27: Dookin cove. A fortune-teller.]
. . .
*1889 Barrere & Leland Dict. Slang I 338: Dukes or dooks...the hands,
from the gypsy duk, dook, which refers to palmistry.
{End excerpt}

Garson

On Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 3:03 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Interesting topic, Peter. Below are some citations for "left duke" and
> "right duke" in the London periodical "Sporting Life" in 1859.
>
> Date: June 25, 1859
> Newspaper: Sporting Life
> Newspaper Location: London, England
> Article: Gallant Fight between Tommy Hackett and Jack Lead for Twenty
> Rounds a Side
> Quote Page 3, Column 1
> Database: britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Tom slung out his left duke on the cheek, but was prettily stopped in
> an intended repetition of treatment. Frequent exchanges to a close,
> when both were down, but Hackett under.
> [End excerpt]
>
>
> Date: August 3, 1859
> Newspaper: Sporting Life
> Newspaper Location: London, England
> Article: Fight between Simon Finighty and Charley Lynch, For 100 Sovereigns
> Quote Page 2, Column 3
> Database: britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Round 5. The American dashed out his right on the ribs, but Finghtly
> planted his right duke on the left eye, and certainly damaged the
> optic, although only to a slight extent.
> [End excerpt]
>
>
> Date: November 19, 1859
> Newspaper: Sporting Life
> Newspaper Location: London, England
> Article: Fifty Pound Encounter between Jemmy Hill, of Chelsea, and
> Nick Hannigan, of Liverpool
> Start Page 3, Quote Page 4, Column 1
> Database: britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Short and sweet; Nick delivered his right duke on the ribs, but got
> his ears boxed for his pains, and a little in-fighting was finished by
> both being down.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 8:23 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Put Up Your Dukes - Duke of York?
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> "Dukes" (1859)=2C as in "put up your dukes=2C" is generally said to have be=
>> en derived from rhyming slang=3B "forks" meant fingers=2C "Duke of York" rh=
>> ymes with forks=2C - therefore "Dukes" are hands.
>>
>> The reference generally cited in support of the derivation is John C. Hotte=
>> n's 1874 book=2CThe Slang Dictionary=2C London=2C Chatto and=0A=
>> Windus=2C 1874. HathiTrust.
>>
>> Hotten=2C himself=2C however=2C published an earlier book=2C A Dictionary o=
>> f Modern Slang Cant and Vulgar Words=2C London=2C 1859=2C with a glossary o=
>> f "rhyming slang=2C" including the phrase=2C "Duke of York=2C" meaning "tak=
>> e a walk." HathiTrust.
>>
>> The earliest known print-reference for "dukes=2C" as hands=2C is from a lis=
>> t of boxers' slang in a slang dictionary compiled by the New York City poli=
>> ce commissioner in 1859=3B Vocabulum=3B or=2C The Rogue's Lexicon=2C New Yo=
>> rk=2C G. W. Matsell=2C 1859. HathiTrust.
>>
>> In 1860=2C several reports of an international boxing match between an Amer=
>> ican and Englishman=2C held in England=2C reports the use of "duke" to mean=
>>  hand by the American's entourage=2C not the Englishman's entourage.  See=
>> =2C for example=2C History of the Great International Contest Between Heena=
>> n and Sayers at Farnborough=2C London=2C George Newbold=2C pages 67 and 71 =
>> (citing Wilkes Spirit of the Times=2C April 18=2C 1860). HathiTrust. =20
>>
>> Taken together=2C it suggests that "dukes=2C" as in put up your dukes=2C ma=
>> y be American=2C and not based on British rhyming slang.  The report of "Du=
>> ke of York" meaning fingers in 1874 may have been true in 1874=2C influence=
>> d=2C perhaps=2C by the intervening new usage of "duke"=3B fifteen years ear=
>> lier=2C the same editor=2C believed "Duke of York" to mean "take a walk."
>>
>> It at least raises the question.
>>
>> I have compiled a number of additional references on my blog: Put Up Your "=
>> Dukes" - a Punchy History and Etymology of "Dukes."         =20
>>
>>                                           =
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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