Smorgas (1858); Mole (1901); Batik (1857)

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Jul 24 15:28:26 UTC 2001

On "smorgas":  The origin of 'gas' (with superscript 'o') is indeed goose,
but 'smorgas' is to be interpreted as goose fat used as a spread ("smear")
for bread.  Today, of course, the spread is likely not to be goose fat but
dairy-based, but in 1858 it may have been from that fatty bird we only ate
at Christmas in Scandinavian Minnesota.  Add "bord" and you have a truly
sumptuous table full of all sorts of "spreads," breads, potato dishes,
meats, fish, puddings, etc. etc.--a "board" of food, as in "room and board."
(Jan Ivarsson can perhaps correct my 3rd-generation Swedish!)

At 05:14 PM 7/23/01 -0400, you wrote:
>    OED and M-W have "smorgasbord" from 1893.
>by Bayard Taylor
>G. P. Putnam, NY
>1858 (although copyright is 1857)
>Pg. 46:
>    They gave us a supper consisting of _smorgas_ ("buttergoose"--the
> Swedish prelude to a meal, consisting usually of bread, butter, pickled
> anchovies, and caviar flavored with garlic), sausages, potatoes with
> milk, and made for us sumptuous beds of the snowiest and sweetest linen.

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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