[Ads-l] Cousin Sally, new in OED

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 26 16:22:39 UTC 2020

Maybe it goes without saying but, as the OED notes, the primary motivation, whichever real or fictitious Sally may have been involves, was the alliteration of Cousin Sally = “C[onfederate] S[tates]” as a nod to that in Uncle Sam for “U[nited] S[tates].”

> On Jan 26, 2020, at 8:25 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU> wrote:
> The following is highly speculative, iffy.
> OED now has an entry for Cousin Sally referring to Confederate States from 1861, reasonably enough.
> Speculation: this name choice might could have been influenced by the often-reprinted antebellum southern folk tale, Cousin Sally Dillard. Richard Walzer, "Ham Jones: Southern Folk Humorist,"The Journal of American Folklore
> Vol. 78, No. 310 (Oct. - Dec., 1965), pp. 295-316 [via JSTOR], reprints and discusses it.
> The Daily Journal, Wilmington, NC, March 21, 1860, 2/2 on slavery and abolition:
> "That is what the Register said only one month before the meeting of the Opposition Convention, before the editor was brought to the confessional by cousin "Sally Dillard" and received the judgement of the court from Judge Badger."
> Admittedly, a weak association, though why a fictional character mentioned? Maybe a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
> SG
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list