boo (interj. 1800, v. 1833)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 9 17:14:15 UTC 2009

At 12:14 PM -0400 4/9/09, Paul Johnston wrote:
>The same kind of sound happened with anyone nicknamed "Moose" (and
>I'm showing my age here) from Skowron to Dropo to Moryn in baseball.
>Walt "Moose" Moryn was the second-best home run hitter (behind hall-
>of-famer Ernie Banks) on some really lousy Cubs teams when I was a
>kid, and he was always greeted with a loud "MOOOOOOOSE!" whenever he
>came up to bat.  Jack Brickhouse always had to explain to the TV
>audience that the fans weren't really booing him.
>Paul Johnston

It must have been Bill "Moose" Skowron re whom I first learned that
"they're not booing, they're saying MOOOOOOSE", back in the mid-1950s
when I first became addicted to baseball.  Of course for me as a
Brooklyn Dodger fan, the "BOOOOO" would have been more appropriate
for the Yankee first-baseman.

Bruce Springsteen was talking on the Daily Show a few weeks ago about
negative reactions to his songs by audience members with different
political sensibilities (especially the one about the police killing
in NYC), and he acknowledged that even though he likes to think
they're shouting "BROOOOOOOSE", you can tell the difference.


>On Apr 9, 2009, at 9:06 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: boo (interj. 1800, v. 1833)
>>What an elegant little essay, Ben!
>>As for oooing (not aahing) to express mass affection for an athlete
>>or other celebrity whose name contains the elongatable vowel /u/,
>>like Bruce Springsteen or Bruce Benedict (of the Atlanta Braves in
>>the 1980s), occasioning frequent notations by radio and TV
>>announcers that the crowd isn't actually booing:  The first
>>instance I ever heard concerned the University of Texas football
>>player Steve Wooster in the late 1960s, whose introduction and
>>whose exploits were commonly marked with a resounding unison
>>"Woooooooo" from the fans.
>>---- Original message ----
>>>Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2009 01:01:14 -0400
>>>From: Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>>>Subject: boo (interj. 1800, v. 1833)
>>>My latest Word Routes column is on the origins of booing:
>>>Following up this interview on WNYC's Soundcheck:
>>>Here are early cites I mention in the column:
>>>* "boo" (interj.)
>>>1800 Maria Edgeworth _Castle Rackrent_ 76 Oh, boo! boo! (says I,
>>>making light of it, to see what he would go on to next).
>>>[Footnote: "Boo! Boo! an exclamation equivalent to Pshaw! or
>>>* "boo" (v. intr.)
>>>1833 _The Kaleidoscope_ (Eton College) 25 Mar. 177 The whole
>>>school raised a yell, booing, hissing, and scraping feet.
>>>* "boo" (v. trans.)
>>>1833 _The Kaleidoscope_ (Eton College) 25 Mar. 177 _At last_ get
>>>into upper school twenty-five minutes past seven--questioned by
>>>master--boo'd, laughed at, shinned in getting a seat.
>>>The last two quotes are in a republished diary of an Eton boy
>>>dated "September 182-".
>>>Someone familiar with Etonian sources can probably antedate these.
>>>There are a number of secondary references to booing directed at
>>>Eton headmaster John Keate taking place as early as 1810.
>>>--Ben Zimmer
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