tootsie, 1847

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Apr 19 22:33:20 UTC 2009

George Thompson wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> Subject:      tootsie, 1847
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In the summer of 1847, a Chinese junk, with a Chinese crew, though owned and captained by an Anglo -- I forget whether American or English -- sailed into NY harbor, and was a tourist attraction for several months.  Among its other benefits, it offered newspaper editors a chance to show off their gift for whimsicality, as for instance a report of a banquet served on board, but not of traditional Chinese grub, since there was no dog or rat.
> Another effort to be amusing included an indication that the word "tootsie", meaning "a woman, girl or sweetheart" (OED's sense 2) is nearly 50 years older than the OED's 1895.
>         "Mrs. Toot-See," mother of the Chinese Lady.
>         N-Y Daily Tribune, August 10, 1847, p. 2, col. 4
> OED shows its sense 1, "a child", from 1854.

There are a number of examples of the 'term of endearment' from ca. 1850
at G. Books, more often spelled "tootsy", applied to pets and to*

_Living Age_, 1846, quoted from _Punch_:

<<MATRIMONIAL DICTIONARY. / DEAR is a term of entreaty, usually employed
before strangers. It is meant to imply affection. It is sometimes used
at home, but is generally received with suspicion. / MY DEAR. The above
with a slight infusion of dignity. / DUCK. A term of affection that goes
in with the wedding-day, and goes out with the honey-moon. / DUCKEY. The
comparative of Duck. / TOOTSY, MOOTSY, and all words ending in _tsy_,
are terms of great endearment. The exact meaning of them has never been
ascertained. They are never heard after thirty. / .... / TOODLEDUMS. See

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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