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

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Feb 1 08:51:38 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
> Paddies...."
> 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
> regiments.
> Microlinguistics. For a better Yesterday.
> JL

To get a little more mileage out of the estimable Captain -- as "Jock" in
the relevant sense isn't in the 1785 edition of Grose (not there when I did
a quick check) and appears suddenly in 1788:

OED:   1788 GROSE Dict. Vulgar T. (ed. 2), Jock,..a jeering appellation for
a north-country seaman, particularly a collier.

-- it could be the case that Jock as either a generic or opprobrious term
was just coming in at just this exact point in time.


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