Jock = a Scotsman, 1587 (antedates OED 1788-?)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 1 03:56:11 UTC 2010

Shaould we distinguish between two uses of these generic names?  First as a
nickname applied (with varying levels of disdain and provocation) to an
unknown individual: "Tell me, Paddy,...." Then as a generic term for the
entire group, with plurals possible and in most cases common: "A crowd of

Grose doesn't seem to make this distinction concerning "Jock," but Grose
wasn't a diachronic grammarian.  My impression is that "Jock" was not often
pluralized till WWI, when it was applied especially to members of Highland

Microlinguistics. For a better Yesterday.


On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 10:34 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Jock = a Scotsman, 1587 (antedates OED 1788-?)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 1/31/2010 10:16 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >  I meant the earliest generic front-name type nickname for any ethnic
> group.
> >
> >All the early contenders seem to date from the 17th C.
> >
> >JL
> In that case, the "Jock" from 1587 is a contender:
> _The Famovs Victories of Henry the fifth: Containing
> the Honourable Battell of Agin-Court As it was plaide by the Queenes
> Maiesties Players_.  [no author.] London: Printed by Thomas Creede,
> 1598.  One of the characters is "Iock".  [Harvard says: "One of the sources
> of
> Shakespeare's Henry IV [sic!], probably written about 1587." --Hand
> list to Old English plays.]  Full view, downloadable.
> (According to Gutenberg, neither "Jock" nor "Iock" is in Henry IV,
> Parts I or II -- or Henry V.  And, as I noted previosly, the earliest
> OED cite for ":Jock" as "any Sctosman" is 1788, from Grose.
> Joel
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