Picnic: Killing Slaves?

Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at M-W.COM
Wed Jun 9 13:36:00 UTC 1999

> -----Original Message-----
The etymology of the word 'picnic' is known: it is from French.  The only
question about the history of this word as far as English is concerned is
whether it came into English via German, or directly from French.  You don't
have to be an etymologist to find this out.  Any standard English-language
"college"-size dictionary will have this info.  And some dictionaries will
also tell you that 'picnic' came into English before the middle of the 18th
century.  There is no connection with killing slaves.


Victoria Neufeldt
Merriam-Webster, Inc.
47 Federal Street
P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA  01102
Tel. (413) 734-3134 ext 124
Fax  (413) 827-7262

> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 1999 7:47 AM
> Subject: Picnic: Killing Slaves?
> This came into the ADS web site. Please send responses to the
> original sender, not to me, although you may want to cc: the list.
> fromaddress = osprey at visi.net
> ere is one for you etymologists.  The Babcock Foundation reported
> in a recent E-mail, that the orgin of the term picnic, orginates
> from the act of taking a male slave and killing him during a
> family/community celebration.  I did not make this up. . .   If
> any of you out there could find the true orgin I would like to
> know!  The best I found is that it is German (Picknick) or French
> (Pique-Nique) and dates to 1748.  Let Me Know! osprey at visi.net.

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