Yankee bump

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Fri Mar 23 23:04:34 UTC 2001

I learned the word from my grandmother as "thankyumum" (my own spelling--I
never saw it written) some time before age 10.  I don't know whether she
learned it in Oklahoma, where she lived most of her life, or whether it
came with her and her family from Illinois.  In any case, she used it not
to describe a bump, or a pothole, but a dip--the kind of road irregularity
that gives the car a gentle bounce that's kinda fun if you're a kid.

I think I've also heard "thankyoumom," but never "-ma'am" before now.  I'm
fairly sure of my grandmother's "-mum" pronunciation, because at the time I
didn't make any connection with either "ma'am" or "Mom," both familiar
words to me.  It just seemed like a highly amusing nonsense word.

The vowels of my grandmother's "thankyumum" are virtually identical with
those in "yankee bump," and I wonder if that's significant.  Admittedly the
stress is different: first syllable in "thankyumum" and (presumably) last
syllable in "Yankee bump."

Peter Mc.

--On Friday, March 23, 2001 12:53 PM -0800 Peter Richardson
<prichard at linfield.edu> wrote:

> That was called a "thank-you, ma'am" in my father's family, which came
> from NE Pennsylvania. A road full of thank-you, ma'ams needed repair.
> PR
>> Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I am trying to find out the origin of the term
>> "yankee bump." A yankee bump is a bump on a sled riding hill that sends
>> your sled flying in the air or it is a bump on a steep old country road
>> that will

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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