[Ads-l] "lugger" as a type of boat

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Jun 21 13:05:27 EDT 2017

The OED defined "lugger" as One who lugs; spec. an oarsman who depends on
mere strength. Also in beef lugger, ship lugger.
1611    R. Cotgrave *Dict. French & Eng. Tongues*   *Tireur*, a drawer,
puller,..lugger, tugger.
1881    *Daily News* 14 Feb. 5/5   His Australian competitor, though by no
means such a mere ‘lugger’ as his country~man Trickett, trusts much less
to..mechanical finish.
1904    *Sun (N.Y.) *5 Aug. 1   It was reported that beef luggers in all
the cold storage plants were to be called out.
1904    *Sun (N.Y.) *11 Aug. 3   The men who are called ship luggers, and
who load meat aboard the steamships.
Both the 1904 citations refer to a longshoreman or porter -- someone whose
strength is used to carry heavy objects, not to pull an oar.

But the word also means a boat used for transportation of cargo.
. . . here and there a scarcely perceptible track conducts to the rude
wharf, from which the weather-worn lugger receives her load of timber for
the consumption of the city.

Francis Hall.  *Travels in Canada, and the United States, in 1816 and 1817*.
 By Lieut. Francis Hall.  London, 1818.  p. 22 -- a scene on the Hudson

>From a previous existence as a Victorian boulevardier, when I was known as
Gilbert the Filbert, the Knut with a K, I recall having seen a melodrama in
which the dastardly villain exclaims "Once aboard the lugger and the girl
is mine".  We all know what dastardly villains have in mind in those
situations, but fortunately, the noble hero arrived just in time.  I've
forgotten the name of the play, but the quotation was remembered by others,
including A. S. M. Hutchinson, author of Once Aboard the Lugger - The
History of George and His Mary
published by Mitchell Kennerley, New York (1908)  The Web offers a
quotation from it: "This book has its title from that dashing sentiment,
"Once aboard the lugger and the girl is mine."" and also tells me that
there was a silent movie in 1920 with that title, and a recording in 1932.

The entry "lugger" missed being treated in the current revision by the
narrowest of margins, and will no doubt have to wait decades more for
attention.  Let this tidbit be filed away until then.

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- affectionately (of course) also known as The Dunghill
Toadstool.  (Here's a picture of one.)

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

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