Air Force Language (1962); Medical Slang (1994)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Jul 26 02:21:59 UTC 2001

 From James Landau:

>as for "Gomer", isn't anybody on this list familiar with the 1960's TV
>show "Gomer Pyle"?

Yes, and this character appeared earlier in "The Andy Griffith Show", 1963
I think.

This character's name is the "best guess" for the origin of "gomer",
according to RHHDAS, and I can't improve on this with any confidence.

The lore of the medical gomer is presented very well by V. George and A.
Dundes, "Journal of American Folklore" 91:568-81 (1978): "The Gomer: A
Figure of American Hospital Folk Speech".

However, I wonder: why did Gomer Pyle receive the name Gomer in the first
place? Gomer is a biblical name (e.g., Genesis 10:2) and it is also an
English and/or Welsh family name, and it was used as a given name before
Gomer Pyle. Perhaps it was regarded as a name suitable for a bumpkin long
before the TV character appeared, and perhaps this is why it was chosen for
Mr. Pyle.

-- Doug Wilson

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