[Ads-l] Antedating of "zowie"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 7 16:02:31 UTC 2016

In 1900, two newspapermen  from Chicago wrote a stage play entitled "Zowie's Dion", a send-up of a quack faith-healing temple on Michigan Avenue called Dowie's Zion, named after its founder and chief Mystic, John Alexander Dowie.

The play, "Zowie's Dion" consisted mostly of women in pink tights and a healer named Zowie who ran around bonking everyone on the head with inflated bladders tied to the ends sticks.  No word on whether he said "zowie" as he bonked them, it may just be a coincidence.  The theater caught fire shortly after the performance, which had been billed as a particularly "hot" show.  You can't make this stuff up.

See, Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1900, page 8. Newspapers.com.

The word seems  reminiscent of college cheer gibberish of the period.  Haven't found it exactly, but Ohio Wesleyan's official cheer included "Alakazu ka zu ki zow, Raz zi zi zow" as early as 1893.
From: Margaret Winters<mailto:mewinters at WAYNE.EDU>
Sent: ‎11/‎7/‎2016 7:11
Subject: Re: Antedating of "zowie"

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Margaret Winters <mewinters at WAYNE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Antedating of "zowie"

I've certainly heard 'wowie zowie' used sarcastically ('big deal!!!).  Why =
that initial consonant for the rhyme, though, I cannot say.  For what it is=
 worth, Hebrew has 'yofi tofi' used equally sarcastically.

On Leave
Office of the Provost
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI  48202

mewinters at wayne.edu

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Cohen,=
 Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU>
Sent: Monday, November 7, 2016 9:49:02 AM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "zowie"

"Zowie"! -- could it be a blend ("Wowie!" + "Zounds!")?

Gerald Cohen
From:  Robin Hamilton [robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM]
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2016 3:47 AM

Antedated to 1902 in GDoS:

(orig. US) an excl. used to describe a sudden impact, or fig. amazement.

1902 [US] T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 90: Zowie!!
1909 [US] Pacific Commercial Advertisier (Honolulu, HI) 25 Dec. 3/5: This
[baseball] game will not take place if it rains. If the weather is fine, al=
right; if not, then zooey for the fans.

Hugo's cite provides a nice interdating/confirmation of early use.


On 07 November 2016 at 07:17 Hugo <hugovk at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
OED: c1913
     1908 July 17, Rice, Thomas S., Nationals Swat at Lively Clip Until
New Orleans Steps Into Breach.=3DE2=3D80=3D9D, in The Washington Times[1],
     Washington D.C., page 10:

>     ---
>     Zowie, what a walloping those Browns got in New York yesterday! A few
>     more like that and the blow-up in Washington, then watch the anvil
>     chorus in St. Louis.
>     ---

>     [1]
> http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1908-07-17/ed-1/seq-10/=
>     Hugo
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