Whoa!, Blue Monday (1806)

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Apr 10 21:47:13 UTC 2002

This was actually of some interest to me, as the daughter of a farmer who
used to drive horse teams with the commands "gee!" (=to the right) and
"haw!" (=to the left).  He also used "whoa," of course, as the command to
stop.  I suppose I could look these up, but I'm curious about the apparent
shift from "gee"< 'gehen' and about the 'hup' and 'wey' terms.  But what
the heck is "phthrowh"?

On Blue Monday, the "fraff" should be, I'm sure, "frass," with the original
double S letter used in earlier German printing (I forget what it's called,
but we've talked about this before).  "Fressen" = 'essen' (to eat) with a

At 07:38 PM 4/8/02 -0400, you wrote:
>by John Carr
>Philadelphia: Samuel F. Bradford
>Pg. 10:  The mist which almost perpetually envelopes the head of this
>mighty mountain, is by the natives called its _night-cap_.
>(OED has 1626, then 1817--ed.)
>Pg. 24:  The Irish drivers set their horses in motion much in the same way
>as we do, by the word "gee," an important word which, as well as that of
>"whoa," have been too much in constant use to have had much
>illustration.  Dr. Johnson defines the accelerating word "gee" to be "a
>term amongst waggoners, to make their horses go faster;" but does not
>recur to the radical word.  Ge, or geh, seems to be the imperative of the
>German verb gehen, to go; a word by which, with an accompanying stroke of
>the whip, a horse thoroughly understands that he is to advance.  The
>retarding word "whoa," we are told, was formerly applied to valorous
>knights and comabtants in armour, or _harness_, as it was called, and
>hence degraded to horses _in harness_.  When the king, as president at
>tilts and tournaments, threw down his baton as the signal of
>discontinuance, the heralds cried out, in the Danish language, to the
>combatants, "ho," that is, stop.  When a jingle-driver wishes his horse to
>go to the right, he cries "hup, hup;" when to the left, "wey, wey;" and
>when to stop, "phthrowh."
>(OED has "whoa" from 1840 and 1843--ed.)
>Pg. 148:  An Irish breakfast is always a bountiful one, and contains,
>exclusive of cold meats, most excellent eggs and honey...stirabout, a sort
>of hasty pudding made of oaten meal.
>Pg. 163:  This is a general national trait; and a grievous imprecation in
>the Irish language is, "May your burial be foresaken;" they have another
>very figurative malediction, "May the grass grow green before your door."
>Pg. *167:  ...at those subterranean _tables d'hotes_ in the _diving
>cellars_ of St. Giles's, in London...
>(A dive?--ed.)
>Pg. 174:  For want of employment, the common people had recourse to
>drinking; and, instead of fasting, it soon became a common proverb,
>"_Heute blauer fraff Montag_; To-day is feasting Monday," and was soon
>distinguished by debauchery, tumult, and even bloodshed; in consequence of
>which an edict was published in 1731, by virtue of which the custom of
>keeping Blue Monday was abolished entirely.
>(OED has "Blue Monday" only from 1801--ed.)

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

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