Michigander etymology and Abraham Lincoln and blends

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 12 16:50:39 UTC 2012

The OED has an entry for Michigander that includes the entertaining
Lincoln connection.

[Begin excerpt]
Michigander, n.

Forms:  18 Michi-gander, 18– Michigander.
Etymology:  Apparently originally a humorous blend of the name of
Michigan (see Michigan n.) and gander n.: see note below. In later
uses probably regarded as < the name of Michigan (see Michigan n.) +
-er suffix1. Compare earlier Michiganian n.

Apparently originally a nickname given to General Lewis Cass
(1782–1866), governor of Michigan Territory (1813–31), who was
regarded by his political opponents as resembling a goose; the term
was reputedly coined by Abraham Lincoln (compare quot. 1848). In spite
of its humorous origin it has now superseded Michiganian (Michiganian
n.) as the usual term for an inhabitant of Michigan.

  A native or inhabitant of the state of Michigan. Cf. Michiganian n.

1848   A. Lincoln Coll. Wks. (1953) I. 509,   I mean the military tail
you Democrats are now engaged in dove~tailing on to the great
Michigander [sc. General Cass].

[End excerpt]

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 8:55 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Michigander etymology and Abraham Lincoln and blends
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There exists an intriguing tale about the coinage of the term
> "Michigander" and Abraham Lincoln. The article at the following link
> suggests that Lincoln coined the term in a speech he gave in the US
> House of Representatives on July 27, 1848 by blending "Michigan" and
> "gander":
> http://michigantoday.umich.edu/NewsE/091503/lincoln.html
> [Begin excerpt]
> Some residents of the University’s home state identify themselves as
> Michiganders, while others opt for Michiganians as more high-toned. A
> few even like Michiganite.
> Prof. Richard W. Bailey of the English department has traced the first
> documented use of "Michigander" to an 1848 speech by Abraham Lincoln.
> In Nineteenth Century English (University of Michigan Press, 1996),
> Bailey cites Lincoln’s usage as an example of word-formation by
> blending - Michigan + gander.
> [End excerpt]
> Wikipedia and Wikitionary have entries for Michigander that include
> the hypothesis about Lincoln's coinage of the word on July 27, 1848:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigander
> http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Michigander
> The 1842 cite below suggests that the word was already in print before
> Lincoln's speech.
> Cite: 1842 June 25, Bellows Falls Gazette, [Short untitled article],
> Page 3, Column 4, Bellows Falls, Vermont. (GenealogyBank)
> [Begin excerpt; Check for typos]
> A neat little Paper, called "The Brunswicker," has reached us.
> "Phaebus! what a name!" "The Vermonter" does well enough, and so would
> the Rhode-Islander, and Marylander and New-Yorker - but come to the
> New Hampshirer, or Massachusettser, or Connecticutter, or Michigander
> - "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - The Locomotive.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is another cite before Lincoln's speech that uses "Michi-Gander".
> This term might be an interesting topic for etymologists.
> Cite: 1848 July 4, Hudson River Chronicle, Page 2, Sing-Sing, New
> York. (GenealogyBank)
> [Begin excerpt; Check for typos]
> Having concluded upon our course--having decided to support the
> nominees, for the reasons previously given, we shall go into the
> canvass devoted, soul and body, to the success of the ticket, and
> through the four months that will intervene between the present time
> and the election, each number of the CHRONICLE shall hurl "a little
> more grape" at the great Michi-Gander. and what- ever aid we can give
> to the effort to break up and rout the legions of locofocoism, shall
> be freely and cheerfully rendered.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson O'Toole
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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