Word for the Wise on "doughboy"

Jesse T Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Jun 23 20:49:05 UTC 1999

> I was perusing the Word for the Wise text on the Merriam-Webster site
> (http://www.m-w.com) when I came across the following:
>     Another coinage from that year [1865] is more closely
>     connected with World War I than the Civil War. It was
>     doughboy, the term for an American infantryman.
>     Supposedly, that word originated with globular buttons
>     on soldiers' uniforms that resembled a type of small
>     round donut known as a doughboy.
> The text appears at:
> http://www.m-w.com/wftw/99feb/020199.htm

Except, of course, that _doughboy_ is attested as far back
as 1847, as cited in the _Random House Historical Dictionary
of American Slang._

The origin of the term, despite many suggestions, including
the one above, remains obscure.

Jesse Sheidlower
Random House Reference
<jester at panix.com>

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