imaginative etymologies: BUCK NAKED
Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Wed Apr 7 01:45:14 UTC 2004
>Buckskins?? Who were the "old timers" and why were there more around then, I
>wonder? I'm sure my dad would have remembered all the naked Indians running
>around. I think I'll have to save that comment as a good example of folk
>etymology--which I never can explain adequately to students.
It's hard for me to tell which things are jokes, and which are intentional
jokes and which are unintentional jokes .... Sometimes I put a smiley-face
(^_^) by my joke, sometimes I don't but maybe should.
I think somebody asked whence "buck naked" and presented what appears to be
a so-called WAG [="wild-ass guess"] etymology from an otherwise respectable
The short answer to "whence?" is AFAIK "nobody knows" ... or at least "I
don't know." However I think a reasonable although unsupported hypothesis
is better than nothing as long as it's properly labeled "WAG" or
"speculative" or equivalent.
I'm not sure that a reasoned and (even slightly) researched hypothesis
qualifies as "folk etymology" and I'm not sure deliberate jokes by
linguists or others qualify either. Is the above-mentioned published
speculation by a professional lexicographer "folk etymology"? I suppose
there must be an article in AS or somewhere defining "folk etymology".
-- Doug Wilson
More information about the Ads-l