"Hot Dog" in EXPRESS

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 7 03:02:12 UTC 2001


As for the hot dog, the usual story is that of an American cartoonist, Tad Dorgan, who drew a picture of vendors at a baseball match in 1906 who sold sausages in rolls while drumming up trade by shouting out "get your red hot dachshunds here."  WIth deadlines rapidly approaching, he realised that he couldn't spell dachshund, so changed it to "hot dog."

However, there are two objections to that story.  The first is that some accounts say it was "Frankfurter" and not "dachshund" that he couldn't spell, and I always feel one ought to be sceptical of a theory that can't tell its Frankfurter from its sausage dog.

The second objection is based on linguistic research which dates "hotdog" to some 10 years earlier than the baseball cartoon.
(Which was actually a cartoon for a six-day bicycle race at Madison Square Garden--ed.)

It was first used around 1894 to mean an ostentatiously well-dressed young man.  Around the same time, however, students at Yale were referring to wagons sellling sausages in buns as "dog wagons."  On October 19, 1895, the Yale Record carried a report of students munching hot dogs, and the hot dog industry never looked back.

A full account of the etymology of the hot dog may be found on the internet at www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-hot1.htm.

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