legend of kung-fu

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 28 15:20:11 UTC 2010

Another ex. of the diverting belief that curious foreign words in English
are the result of an Englishman's obtuse misunderstanding of a native's
remark. (Captain Cook and "kangaroo" feature in the best known of these
fanciful stories.)

1994 Terence Dukes _The Bodhisattva Warriors_ (Boston: Weiser) 488:  KUNG
FU...A Chinese term literally meaning  "a workman" (syn., "coolie") used
also to describe their activities. Mistakenly applied to _Chuan Fa_. Use of
this term was popularized by the Victorian British Traders in China who,
when enquiring about demonstrations by persons doing Chinese Boxing were
told that this is what it was (i.e., hard work). The humor was unrealized.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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