[Ads-l] "sea-pouse": a word for DARE?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon May 30 22:44:16 EDT 2016

On 5/30/2016 9:50 PM, George Thompson wrote:
> *Extract of a letter from East-Hampton, (Long-Island) June 29,
> 1788*.
>              It is well known to many that where a sandy shore is 
> washed by
> the ocean, the bottom is subject to continual variation, which 
> produce, or
> are produced, by a kind of eddy to the waves, by which any buoyant
> substance will be carried, sometimes with great rapidity, against the
> swell, back to the sea.
>              The South side of Long-Island, especially at the East 
> end, is
> remarkable for these reverting currents, which the natives call 
> *sea-pouse*,
> and cautiously avoid.
>              Daily Advertiser (New York, N. Y.), July 10, 1787, p. 2, 
> col. 1
> I don't have the later vols. of DARE; it's not in the OED.

It's in DARE (vol. 4, p. 830): "seapoose" (NY, NJ) and a few spelling 
variants, several citations. Algonquian etymology. Meanings: (1) inlet 
or channel connected to the sea (from 1650); (2) whirlpool, undertow 
(from 1842). The above seems to me to be sense 2, an antedating.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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