[Ads-l] Yankee Doodle; Sheela-na-gig, as a bonus

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 22 12:07:51 EDT 2017

Thanks, George. I found the 1768 "Yankey Doodle" cite a while back but was
too lazy to tell anybody about it. You have rectified my error, and serves
me right.

The early "Shellahnagig" is amazing.  Perhaps you've observed that the OED
def. is, shall we say, very discreet.


On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 11:01 AM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>

> I see that the OED's first, 1768,  citation of Yankee Doodle is from a
> 19th anthology or collection of source materials.  File #1 is that same
> passage from a 1768 source -- a different one from the one cited in the
> 19th C book, but what the hell.  The item dated Sept. 29.
> File #2 is also from 1768.  Yankee Doodle is in the last paragraph of the
> upper column.
> #3 is from 1769, a response to #2.  Yankee Doodle appears about 10 lines
> from the end.
> These passages were found by searching the first 5 files of America's
> Historic Newspapers/Early American Newspapers for the word Doodle --
> following my usual approach, which is, to give this databases the fewest
> words to misread that is possible.  I do not have access to files 6-10 or
> 11.
> Notice that #3 is signed Shellahnagig.  The OED has this in its
> architectural sense from 1844 and after.
> Sheela-na-gig
>   A medieval carved stone female figure sometimes found on churches or
> castles in Britain and Ireland (see quot. 19341
> <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:2901/view/Entry/177758?redirectedFrom=sheela-na-gig#eid23244030>).
> Also *ellipt.*, as  *sheela*,  *sheila*.
> 1844    *Proc. Royal Irish Acad. 1840–4* *2* 575   In the church at Dowth
> there is a shela-na-gig, carved in stone quite different to that which
> composes the walls of the church.
> --
> 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.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/
> an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list