Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 10 06:50:00 UTC 2007

I seem to recall "hubba-hubba" as being the wolf call. But the memory
is not much better than a WAG, in this case.


On 3/9/07, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:
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> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Wolf-whistle
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> This is in the OED Wordhunt on-line: "predate 1952".
> [AFAIK, though, the Wordhunt page is not routinely updated (please correct
> me if necessary!), so if I spend a couple hours digging up a few examples
> from 1951 it'll probably be no more than an annoyance to the OED folks who
> have already received 500 citations dating back to before the Norman Conquest.]
> I find "wolf-whistle" all over the newspapers in 1944 (but not 1943).
> I find "wolf call" in apparently the same sense from the same period, in
> fact a little earlier, 1942.
> I don't know whether "wolf call" at that time *generally* meant a whistle
> or whether it also covered other sounds of appreciation such as "ah-ooo"
> wolf-howl imitations.
> Anyway, I guess "wolf call" much earlier meant a call characteristic of a
> wolf (made by a wolf or made in imitation of a wolf) (standard "wolf"
> meaning a canine animal). "Wolf Call" (Jack London novel, I think) appeared
> as a movie in 1939.
> I suppose if a whistle (or some other sound) was thought to be
> characteristic of a wolf (male human type) it might have been humorously
> termed a "wolf call" very naturally, with later [partial?] replacement by
> "wolf whistle" for specificity.
> Somebody probably knows better.
> -- Doug Wilson
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