Melvyn Bragg book

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Nov 25 03:31:42 UTC 2003

>He also states that Davy Crockett "was one of the first exponents of
>'Tall Talk' - using new words like 'skedaddle', 'hunky-dory' and
>'splendiferous'". The OED has first examples of these from 1861, 1866
>and 1843 respectively, while Crockett, of course, died at the Alamo
>in 1836.
>Crockett is not on record anywhere I've looked as employing any of
>these words. Before I assert catagorically Bragg is wrong about this,
>would anyone who knows different tell me where there's evidence that
>Crockett did indeed use them?

I don't know anything about it, but I won't let that stop me ....

(^_^) after all Bragg does say "new words LIKE ..." and not "new words
INCLUDING ...". Maybe Crockett used "hornswoggle", "absquatulate", etc.,
which are 'like' the above but earlier. (^_^)

As for the 'too-late' words, I think it's superficially unlikely that
Crockett used them, but there may be some room for doubt.

["Skedaddle" seems to have had an earlier dialectal use (meaning "spill")
and if it is basically an alteration of "scatter" (as I suspect) it could
have had the sense of scattering of routed troops earlier too.]

["Splendiferous" occurred long ago (ca. 1500) but it was called 'obsolete'
by the OED: conceivably it was really continuous with the later word.]

[If Crockett used "hunky-dory" that would tend to torpedo the part-Japanese
etymology given in some books.]

-- Doug Wilson

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