hot dog--(German war dog sandwich)

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 15 15:35:46 UTC 2004

The contents of sausages are no longer suspect?


>         Bill Mullins asked (Dec. 14, 2004):
>>  an odd hot dog allusion???
>>  "With the Boys" by C. A. Cary, _The [Baltimore] Afro American_, Saturday,
>>  November 28, 1914, p. 6/3
>>  "Mr. Milton Thomas, better known as "Pygmie" of the seventh grade
>>was one of the happiest rooters when the "Knights of Waters" came
>>over to our school and played a game of basketball.  Little
>>"Pygmie" was just standing on his head!  No wonder -- here is the
>>whole secret:  "Pygmie" had just eaten a "German war dog sandwich."
>         My guess (and it is only that) is that Pygmie's intestinal
>tract was in havoc as the result of eating a hot dog. Evidently he
>was unable to make a beeline to the bathroom and was instead reduced
>to hopping frantically around trying to keep control of himself and
>disguising his distress by pretending to root vigorously for his
>           "war dog sandwich" is almost certainly an alteration of
>"hot dog sandwich",
>         and the addition of "German" helps clarify that we're
>dealing with a sausage.
>         The contents of sausages were often suspect in the 19th and
>early 20th centuries, and this subject was a staple of humor in
>those days.
>         Gerald Cohen
>         author (with Barry Popik and the late David Shulman) of
>_Origin of the Term "Hot Dog_", 2004

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

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