[Ads-l] "hooker" meaning "prostitute"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 23 20:16:18 EDT 2021


I've read this in countless pulp westerns. I've never heard it, though.

JL

On Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 7:54 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> > both _on_ ‘em
>
> FWIW, this style of construction - the use of _on_, instead of _of_ with
> numerics - is/was? the "standard" among black speakers in Marshall, Texas.
> Since Marshall was the *only* place that I ever heard this use, until about
> a dekkid ago, when I finally had occasion to see this construction in
> print, I lived under the impression that black Marshallites were, in fact,
> saying "of" and I was, somehow, just mishearing it.
>
> On Mon, May 3, 2021 at 8:05 AM dave at wilton.net <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
>
> >
> > When you read that citation in its full context, it is clear that
> > prostitute is not what is intended. "Hook" and "hooker" are being used in
> > multiple senses here: marriage, scratching with one's nails, and
> Corlear's
> > hook.
> >
> > Wit. – Oh, no, sir: I don’t mean that as anything loose passed between
> us.
> >
> > Mag. – I didn’t say there was, but I want to know what you mean by using
> > you ill. There are so many methods of using a man ill: for instance, she
> > might have promised to marry you, and then declared the match off,
> Without
> > paying you “forfeit”; that would have been using you ill.
> >
> > Wit. – Oh, no, sir; I never should have thought of hooking on to the
> likes
> > of her, no how; she’s got too many nails on her fingers for me, and
> they’re
> > all of them as hooked as a cat’s claws, and she came very near hooking my
> > eye out with ’em, and I got but one eye; ’tother was blowed out by a gun
> > barrel bursting; and ven a feller has got but one eye, I don’t call that
> no
> > kind of behavior, no how, to try to hook out both on ‘em, so as to make
> him
> > totumly blind on both sides of his head. That’s what I calls using a
> feller
> > ill.
> >
> > Mag. – What did you try to hook out his eye for?
> >
> > Pris. – ’Cause he called me a hooker, and so I thought I might as well
> > earn my name as well.
> >
> > Mag. – What did he call you hooker for?
> >
> > Wit. – ’Cause she allers hangs round the hook, your honner.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: "George Thompson" <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> > Sent: Sunday, May 2, 2021 7:27pm
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "hooker" meaning "prostitute"
> >
> >
> >
> > I posted the following to the group perhaps 20 years ago. It led to an
> > exchange of emails with Prof. Maher that became sufficiently acrimonious
> > that I invited him to stop, assuring him that I would delete future
> emails
> > unopened and unread.
> >
> > Pris. -- . . . he called me a *hooker*. . . .
> >
> > Mag. -- What did you call her a hooker for?
> >
> > Wit. -- 'Cause she allers hangs round the hook, your honner.
> >
> > New York Transcript, September 25, 1835, p. 2, col. 4
> >
> > I suppose I will concede that this does not make it explicit that
> "hooker"
> > meant "prostitute", but clearly it was a term of abuse when addressed to
> a
> > woman.
> > I also think that the Witness was a folk etymologist. The Hook was an
> area
> > of NYC frequented by sailors on shore and others seeking low life, but
> > still, I think it's as likely, at least, that a "hooker" was a woman who,
> > like a fisherman -- fisherperson, that is -- lures poor innocent men into
> > improper doings.
> >
> > GAT
> >
> > On Sun, May 2, 2021 at 3:29 PM James Landau <
> > 00000c13e57d49b8-dmarc-request at listserv.uga.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > Thomas P. Lowry MD _The Stories the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Six in the
> > > Civil War_Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpoloe Books, 1994, ISBN for the
> > paperback
> > > edition 978-0-8117-1153-1
> > > A partial version of this book is available on Google Books. Search on
> > > "were called hookers".
> > > extracts from page 147 (apparently this is the page number in the
> > > paperback edition)
> > > <begin quote>The 1976 _Supplement to the OED_ lists the word ["hooker"]
> > as
> > > American slang for prositute, giving its earliest use as
> > 1845.<snip>William
> > > Craigie's 1942 _Dictionary of American English_ cities [sic] the
> > Corlear's
> > > Hook area of New York City, where houses of ill fame were
> > > concentrated...Craigie found "hooker" as a term for prostitute in use
> in
> > > 1859 [3]<snip>A University of North Caroline professor has found an
> 1845
> > > letter written by a student to a classmate, using "hooker" in the sense
> > of
> > > prostitute [5]<snip>The 1968 Dictionary of the Underword, published in
> > > London, gives the same derivation ass Craigie, and cites the source as
> > > Bartlett's Americanism, published in 1859.<end quote>
> > > Unfortunately the page containing footnotes [3] and [5] is not
> available
> > > from Google Books. Anybody with better library access than I is welcome
> > to
> > > further research the above.
> > > Dr. Lowry also discusses, without endorsing it, the legend that
> > > prostitutes were called "hookers" after Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, a
> > > less-than-outstanding Union general in the Civil War. I might add that
> > the
> > > existence of this legend, whether true or false, us evidence that
> > "hooker"
> > > was a well-known term for prostitute in the Civil War era, as this
> legend
> > > certainly antedates Xaviera Hollander's book.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > James Landau
> > > jjjrlandau at netscape.com
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society -
> > >
> >
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIFaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=nOO9i5KXgOSNUY9FbkBHjSGyFpaUhRv5iSPdWSpRVbM&s=MA6S4GqOxS9QWotobxb2k1WJg-oFO09AKRr0tQa-yAw&e=
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > George A. Thompson
> > 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 -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool. (Here's a
> > picture of his great-grandfather.)
> >
> >
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
> --
> - Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


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

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