[Ads-l] Anatoly Liberman writes:

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Feb 3 17:12:49 UTC 2015


I commented on Anatoly Liberman's blog post of 29 Nov. 2014, on the same day:

"A brief look takes the game “hull gull” back at least to 1807 (earlier than the examples in D.A.R.E.)–in The Remarks of Jeremiah Jingle (printed for the author, Hagerstown MD?). Since several early descriptions refer to chestnuts and similar objects that have hulls, concealed in a hand, one option may be that it refers to a gull (one who may be fooled) guessing the number of hulls of the nuts (or similar objects) in the hand of the challenger–the rhyme being serendipitous."

Yes, the 1807 text refers to a game. The text (unpaginated) is available at Google Books:


I imagine that the guessing game name likely influenced the record and dance name, but I have no proof.

Stephen Goranson

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 11:28 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] Anatoly Liberman writes:

"I was also delighted to see Stephen Goranson’s antedating of hully gully.
Unfortunately, I do not know this word’s etymology and have little chance
of ever discovering it, but I will risk repeating my tentative idea.
Wherever the name of this
was coined..."

When did you date "fully gully" to, Stephen? Was the dated "hully gully" a
*game*, as Lieberman says? Is there any connection between the game and the
*dance*, "hully gully," and/or the record, "(Baby) Hully Gully," that you
know of?

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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