"Wop" in 1908?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 29 02:34:55 UTC 2010

At 9:13 PM -0400 4/28/10, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>Wonderful detective work finding the instance with the alternate
>spelling for wop. Here is a 1908 cite in which "the Wop" is used to
>designate an Italian long-distance runner, Dorando Pietri.
>1908 December 16, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Longboat Wins Marathon Race,
>Page 8, Column 4, Cleveland, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)
>Plainly the Indian showed that he had run the Italian off his feet.
>... when MacFarland fired the shot at 9:14 that started the Indian and
>the Wop on their journey of twenty-six miles and 380 yards.

So if things had worked out differently and Lou Sockalexis had been
Luigi Soccaleschi, the team in Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field
would be the Cleveland Wops instead of the Cleveland Indians?


>On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter
><wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: "Wop" in 1908?
>>  The cite provided by M-W is accurate, but I believe it represents an
>>  obsolete, broader sense of "wop," more or less equivalent to current "jerk."
>>  The earliest ex. to hand that unmistakably designates Italians (OED: 1910):
>>  1909 _N.Y. Times_ (Feb. 23) 4: A crowd of men and boys followed four or five
>>  Italians along Canal Street last night, tormenting them by calling them
>>  "Waps" and "Ginneys" [both sic]. Finally near Orchard Street the Italians
>>  turned to fight.
>>  JL
>>  --
>>  "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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