snooey, shambo, etc. (was Re: [ADS-L] your most sought word or phrase origins?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Dec 18 23:46:45 UTC 2006

>   Any thoughts?

Sure ... of dubious value, however.


"Snooey", "smooey", "smoongy"

The time and semantic territory are compatible with mangled-French origins
from WW I. If one can derive "napoo" from French, maybe one can derive one
or more of these.

[Maybe "poontang" too. (^_^)]

Unfortunately I am woefully ignorant of French. Can some plausible phrase
with "s'amuser" for example be distorted into any of the above mystery
words? Was "chameau" = "prostitute" usual at the time of WW I?


I find one example of "shammies" as a variant of "shamboes". Surely
"shammy" can be a (predictable) 'diminutive' of "shambo". However I think
"shambo" could also arise naturally from either "sham" or "shammy" (cf.
"Jimbo" from "Jim"/"Jimmy"), perhaps with reinforcement from "sambo".
Entirely speculative etymologies along this line: (1) "sham" referring to
insincerity/fraud of some sort, perhaps = "play dead" (seen as ignoble,
something done by the enemy, although no doubt done by soldiers of all
sides); (2) "shammy" (= "chamois"), a color which might have been thought
by some to be applicable to the enemy in the Pacific war.

Woolgathering only!

-- Doug Wilson

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