[Ads-l] moolah/mulah (1936)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 25 06:31:23 UTC 2019

The _Moolah_ Temple of the St. Louis chapter of the Ancient, Arabic Order
of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, A.K.A. the Shriners, dates from 1912.
Since I was a child, I've wondered whether there was any connection between
this "Moolah Temple" and the other _moolah_.

On Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 1:39 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> OED3's earliest for "moolah" is from 1937, a cite that Stephen Goranson
> shared here in 2010:
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2010-July/101435.html
> Barry Popik has found a nice antedating that also provides an intriguing
> explanation for the word's origin.
> ----
> Daily News (New York, NY), Feb. 21, 1936, p. 46, col. 1
> "Mainly About Manhattan," by John Chapman
> Lou Frankel, who digs into slang and the reasons behind it, offers a few
> show business terms: [...]
> Mulah--money. Lou always thought it was Arabic or Syrian, but research
> turns up this: A colored vaudeville team used the word years ago. One of
> the partners played the role of a Chinese, and the other one, playing a
> colored man, owed him money. The "Chinese" asked for his mulah which was
> his idea of pidgin English.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/35394640/mulahmoolahmoney_1936/
> ----
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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