[Ads-l] Antedating of "Spoof"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 5 01:38:07 UTC 2019

Excellent antedating for an intriguing term, Fred. Here is an instance
of "Spoof" (and "Spouf") slightly earlier. The rules of the game are
included; however, they appear to be deliberately incomplete and

Date: July 26, 1884
Newspaper: The Sporting Times, Otherwise Known as The "Pink 'Un"
Newspaper Location: London, England
Article: (Untitled short item)
Quote Page 1, Column 4
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt - check for OCR errors]
We have been asked by several ignorant correspondents to enlighten
them on the subject of the grand old national pastime of “Spoof,”
which has been mentioned in this paper. Merely pausing to say that
anyone writing "Spouf" is a liar and assassin, we proceed to say that
the game is of Anglo-Saxon origin, having been invented by the
anonymous cad, who has come down to posterity as the husband of Lady
Godiva. The derivation is obscure, but the name may be the offspring
of an attempt to say "S-pooh-pooh-f” during supper the Adelphi Club,
where this game is played to perfection. We have received copy of the
rules of the game, drawn up by the Gasper, who is President of the
Ancient Guild of Spoof-Smiths, together with an application for our
annual subscription. We print the rules, and will consider the
subscription at our leisure:—

1. No cards, counters, or stumers to be used.

2. Anyone wearing odd socks, or a dicky, or a paper collar to be disqualified.

3. Anybody getting out of temper to be fined drinks.

4. Nobody to leave a room save by the window and chimney.

5. Anybody found in possession of a summer-house, barn, or
back-kitchen to be expelled.

6. No fines or subscriptions ever to be paid—on pain of expulsion.

7. Evening-dress indispensable.

8. Liver pads indispensable.

9. Red flannel shirts indispensable.

New members are wanted—as are most of the old ones at Scotland Yard.
[End excerpt]

I came across an 1888 citation where the goal of "Spoof" was to
convince a naive (perhaps drunk) person to disrobe and go to a public
place via a series of bets, but that scenario may have simply
corresponded to one particular type of prank.


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

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