[Ads-l] Waltzing Matilda

Florian Weimer fw at DENEB.ENYO.DE
Sun Jul 31 17:05:08 EDT 2016

The Wikipedia page attributes the term to German »auf der Walz« (the
journeyman's travels before receiving his master and permission to
settle as a member of a guild).  This seems rather dubious because
there are hardly any older traces that “wal[t]z” is used in this sense
in English (which is itself rather surprising; maybe the population
density of the early United States effectively put a stop to the

The publications I could find with Google Book Search were published
after the change to the Wikipedia entry:


Nowadays, Wikipedia cites the OED.  However, under “Matilda”, the 1989
edition does not contain any quote which suggests that “waltzing”
refers to the concept described above and not to the dance (in a
transferred fashion, either to the way the bundle sways back and
forth, or perhaps to the act of moving it around the country), and the
“waltz” (v) entry only refers back to “Matilda” without further

Has the online edition of the OED been updated?  If yes, do they
provide a historic quote which shows the »auf der Walz« connection?

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

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