[Ads-l] "Gizmo" 1938

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 21 11:25:48 EST 2020


A "gizmo box" is something new to me.

JL

On Mon, Dec 21, 2020 at 11:17 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> So far, neither the Spanish nor the Maltese proposal seem strong to me,
> though I've written to a friend at U. Malta.
>
> I can pass along a proposed French etymology. Doug Yanega is a Professor
> of Entomology--yes Entomology--at UC Riverside who helps officially name
> bugs--so also an etymologist! He credits his teacher at U Kansas, the late
> Dr. George W. Byers.
>
> Briefly, though more to follow from me--or contact him: from French
> gisement. Involved in aiming WWI (and reused in WWII) artillery pieces, a
> device that was attached  but detached before firing, supposedly carried in
> an American-named "gizmo box." That last bit, the box, is unattested, at
> least in a quick search.
>
> Stephen Goranson,
> who looked at OED for gadget today and find that they now use my 1868
> antedate but have some doubt about my proposed French etymology.
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Sunday, December 20, 2020 4:29 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Re: "Gizmo" 1938
>
> Jerry, the author goes by the moniker "subpleiades," and he or she posted
> the suggestion seven years ago:
>
>
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.reddit.com/r/linguistics/comments/1fzty2/where_does_the_word_gizmo_come_from/__;!!OToaGQ!80ofe1J9FlFyMGxNKGt8fM-24mWabQAKcIdFEzhtywb4MV2EGCRnc2CeQZ6VIi5O$
>
> They added an alternative: "Spanish *gisma*, obsolete or dialectal variant
> of *chisme*: trifle, jigger; ultimately from Latin *cimex*: a bug."
>
> This might also be plausible - if we knew just how real, obsolete, and
> dialectal "gisma" was. Somebody does.
>
> JL
>
> On Sun, Dec 20, 2020 at 3:41 PM Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > Jon,
> >
> >
> > Very interesting.  Two questions now:
> >
> >   1.  Who specifically put forth this  Maltese suggestion? He/she
> deserves
> > credit.
> >   2.  In the Maltese Arabic alphabet (which I don't pretend to be expert
> > in),
> >
> > the letter x  is pronounced like the "sh" in English "sheep."  So why
> isn't
> > "gizmo" pronounced "shizmo"?
> > (Btw, in the Maltese Arabic alphabet, the letter "j" is pronounced like
> > English "y" in "yes".)
> >
> > GC
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Saturday, December 19, 2020 4:06 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: Re: "Gizmo" 1938
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: "Gizmo" 1938
> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Finally an etymology that makes some sense (from Reddit):
> >
> > Maltese *x'jismu*  'what's his name?'
> >
> > As Stephen's 1938 ex. shows (and HDAS confirms) the word in early
> > (recorded) naval use also referred to an unknown or odd person.
> >
> > Valetta, Malta, seems to have been a frequent port of call for U.S. naval
> > as well as merchant ships since the 19th century - though there's no
> reason
> > to believe the English word is that old.
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 7:17 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Leatherneck, October 1938 p.28 col.2 (via ProQuest)
> > >
> > > "DOG" COMPANY DOPE
> > >
> > > by "Gizmo"
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Stephen Goranson
> > >
> > > http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Previously reported on ads-l (May 4, 2015), from 1939:
> > >
> > > Leatherneck, May, 1939, page 35 col. 2, Motor Transport, by Looey
> > > [[brackets added]], from image via ProQuest:
> > >
> > >
> > > "Butch Nyden has returned to us [[to Quantico, Va.]] from Shanghai,
> where
> > > he found out that Gin Rickey's aint those two wheel gismos you ride in
> > out
> > > there."
> > >
> > >
> > > Stephen Goranson
> > >
> > > http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/<http://people.duke.edu/%7Egoranson/>
> > >
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