[Ads-l] early "buddy"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 15 13:50:22 UTC 2016

There is certainly a connection. HDAS lists "butty" as a variant of
"buddy," recorded in Amer. Eng. solely among miners as "a miner's

I haven't checked, but the online OED may have added new information since
I prepared the "buddy" entry in the early '90s. At that time it seemed
plausible that "butty" as well as "buddy" was originally a hypocorostic
(baby-talk?) form of of "brother."


On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 9:47 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Peter Reitan <pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: early "buddy"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Buddy might come from British=2C Butty - a business partner?
> A glossary of words from Cheshire from 1829 lists: Butty=2C=0A=
> s. in those parts of Cheshire adjoining to Staffordshire and Shropshire is
> =
> used=0A=
> as a companion in any work or labour.  As=0A=
> the word Boot signifies in general advantage=2C profit=2C help=3B so I
> take=
>  Butty to=0A=
> be merely a helpmate.
> Roger Wilbraham=2C An Attempt at a Glossary of Some Words Used in Cheshire=
> =2C 1826. [HathiTrust]
> A dictionary of British provincialisms published in 1836 lists: "Butty=2C
> a=
>  partner in any business or work=2C North=2C Warwick.  Probably from
> aboute=
> r=2C Fr. To prop=3B to support=3B a partner being a support."
> William Holloway=2C General Dictionary of Provincialisms=2C 1839.
> [HathiTru=
> st]
> Two later dictionaries (John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary=2C 1864 and
> W=
> alter Skeat's Original Glossaries=2C 1876 [both HathiTrust]) give similar
> d=
> efinitions=2C and place the word in "the mining districts" or "North
> Warwic=
> kshire."  Warwickshire is coal mining district.
> The=0A=
> history and description of fossil fuel=2C the collieries=2C and coal trade
> =
> of Great=0A=
> Britain=2C London=2C Whittaker=2C (1835) notes that the term=2C "Butty=2C"
> =
> denoted a specific type of operational manager of a colliery=2C at least
> in=
>  some parts of Staffordshire=3B this is consistent with one of the
> meanings=
>  given in Hotten's Slang Dictionary.
> Etymonline.com lists Butty as a possible origin of Buddy=3B with 1802 as
> th=
> e earliest known date of Butty as "British colloquial=2C companion."
>                                           =
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