Holloween is ancient

Dale Coye Dalecoye at AOL.COM
Fri Nov 2 18:51:43 UTC 2001

I think all the speculations about recent American vowel shifts are way off
base.  The vowel of 'hollow' was used way back in the 16 th c. (see below),
possibly because of confusion with 'holiday"?  (shortened from holy-day)?
and I would be so bold as to say the majority of Americans used the 'hollow'
pronunciation before we all got so educated and thought it had to follow the
pronunciation of "hallow"   Certainly "holloween" was the only pronunciation
I ever heard in my part of Upstate NY growing up in the 50s and 60s

Hallowmas:  hollomass 1590
       Allhollan day 1552 (also spelled allholland)
       Allhollown summer=Indian Summer Henry IV pt. 1 1596

There is also the Elizabethan oath "by my holidame!" Henry VIII 5.1.116, and
elsewhere in Shks. This is dervied from "holy dame" (i.e., Mary) and its
variant spellings (holidam, halidam, halidom) indicate that there was
ambiguity between the short a and short o.

Dale Coye
The College of NJ
whose book "Pronouncing Shakespeare's Words: A Guide from A to Zounds" will
be out in paperback next spring from Routledge.

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