"Windy City" & "Skunked"

carljweber carljweber at MSN.COM
Thu Dec 20 02:41:40 UTC 2001

Barry Popik wrote:
 Yes, it's a myth!    "Windy City" dates much earlier than the battle
for the 1893 World's Fair, which took place in 1889-1890.  Even a
simple check of the DICTIONARY OF AMERICANISMS (published in Chicago
50 years ago) shows an 1887 citation.

The 1887 citation: "A gauzy story of an alleged anarchist dynamite
plot from the Windy City."

1873: wind work - talk discussion, planning, etc., that precedes work
on an undertaking.
1873: "The wind-work all done, and grading will commence about
September first."

Chicago was also "Wind Town." 1903: "The majority of Wind Town's
baseball writers doubted the possibility of peace when the project was

A little extra, also picked up in the Dictionary, is that "they were
Chicagoed," in 1891, was equivalent to "they were skunked." Our great
baseball team at the time, hardly ever losing, gave "Chicago," and it
meant "a defeat in which the losing team does not score."  The idea in
the popular mind that "Chicago" meant "skunk" is transparent. I'm
surprised nobody's come up with: skunk >wind> Chicago.

Carl Jeffrey Weber

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