A. Maberry maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Fri Jun 11 16:16:35 UTC 1999

I can't find anything in Yiddish to suggest that "shirker" if of Yiddish
origin, even though the OED and Webster list the etymology as obscure.
The verb "shirk" has attestations which are early enough to make me doubt
that the verb is a borrowing from Yiddish, the first English quotes coming
from the early 1600s. I'd be curious about Horowitz's source too.

maberry at

On Fri, 11 Jun 1999, David Bergdahl wrote:

> In Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the
> Unfinished Civil War (1998), on the first page (5) one finds "Isaac Moses
> Perski fled Czarist Russia as a teenaged draft dodger--in Yiddish, a
> shirker--and arrived in Manhattan without money or English or family."  No
> citation is given for the Yiddish.
> =======================================================================
> David Bergdahl          Ellis Hall 114c        Ohio University / Athens
> Associate Prof/English  tel:  (740) 593-2783   fax:  (740) 593-2818
>                         bergdahl at
> =======================================================================

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