Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 28 15:47:30 UTC 2013

On Apr 28, 2013, at 10:31 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> A non-mechanical form of the cupping blister is called a hickey.
> --Charlie
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

I remember being disappointed to learn that this wasn't an eponym memorializing some legendary Mr. or Ms. Hickey, but just a specialization of the same general notion that appears in _doohickey_.  The OED, now slightly antedating Jon's HDAS, gives us as a first (more or less) unambiguous cite from 1937:

1937   Ten-Story Love Mag. May 2 (advt.)    Hickies spoil everything. I know. I had 'em until I began eating Fleischmann's yeast.

But perhaps this could just be 'pimple', despite the name of the periodical in question.  When "hickey" denoted the blemish and not its origin, it's hard to tell when the narrowing occurred; by now taboo avoidance has kicked in, making it hard to use "hickey", "hicky", "hickie", etc. for anything other than a 'love-bite' or the result of 'affectionate nibbling', as the lexicographers put it.


The American Dialect Society -

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