[Ads-l] wondering about the origin of "sleigh riding" in New York

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Fri Jan 1 17:28:30 EST 2021


Although the memory is a little fuzzy,
I’m fairly sure we called them 'sleighs'
in Toronto in the early sixties. Specifically
Flexible Flyers and such (not to be confused
with toboggans, which were controlled
differently, of course).

Geoff

Geoffrey S. Nathan
WSU Information Privacy Officer (Retired)
Emeritus Professor, Linguistics Program
https://clasprofiles.wayne.edu/profile/an6993
geoffnathan at wayne.edu

From: Jonathan Lighter<mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, January 1, 2021 1:22 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: wondering about the origin of "sleigh riding" in New York

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: wondering about the origin of "sleigh riding" in New York
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I 've never heard the term "sleigh-riding" applied to sleds, but when I was
a tad in NYC in the mid-1950s, I called a sled a "sleigh" till I was five
or six years old, and I don't recall ever being directly corrected.

"Sleigh" for "sled" is likewise reflected in this:

1895 _New York Herald_ (Jan. 30) 10: Further on two little girls in knitted
hoods hop cheerily along with a skate apiece, followed at  distance by a
tot with a sled. An envious mate calls out, "Ho, don't them Brown girls
think they're fine wid skates and a sleigh!"

The Dictionary of American Regional English has an entry with quotations
beginning in Ohio in 1827, the first of which actually includes the term
"sleigh-riding.":

"Two weeks since, it was ...covered with boys and men amusing themselves
with skating and sleigh-riding on the ice, for want of snow."

JL

On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 12:11 PM Michael Malone <mikemalone5a at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Hi! I sincerely hope I did this correctly and did not violate the norms.
> I'm a journalist looking to do a story on the term "sleigh riding", which
> is how snow sledding is referred to in New York, despite there not being a
> sleigh involved. Wondering if anyone might help trace where/when/how the
> term came to be.
> Thank you and happy new year.
> Mike Malone
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


--
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