[Ads-l] monkey in the middle (1952)

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 28 12:27:55 UTC 2020

Alexander Theroux discusses this word in “Salucci” (https://www.jstor.org/stable/43926761 <https://www.jstor.org/stable/43926761>). He gives a 1955 citation of “siloochee” in “Astounding Science Fiction," beating BP’s earliest citation by one year, but not as early as BZ’s 1951 citation.

Theroux cites DARE, saying that “whoever catches the item must shout, ’Saloogi on Chris’s knife!’” (p. 206). I imagine this usage might have to do with the origin of the word. 

FWIW, the surname “Salucci” is given as coming from Latin “sal” (salt) (https://www.italyheritage.com/genealogy/surnames/etymology/s/ <https://www.italyheritage.com/genealogy/surnames/etymology/s/>), but I was not able to find that etymology in a handful of Italian searches. 

I also tried a couple of searches in Neapolitan, Sardinian and Sicilian, but nothing seemed relevant. 

Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
Formerly of Seattle, WA

> On 27 Jan 2020, at 10:44, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
> The only connection I can think of it that my spellcheck keeps trying to turn my “salugi” into Southern Illinois’ “saluki”, but AFAIK the breed in question, whatever its merits and elegance, is not known for participating in the activity under discussion. Of course, there’s the fact that Walt (“Clyde”) Frazier, New York Knickerbocker nonpareil (1970/1973 championship pedigree and longtime announcer), was a Saluki.  Can’t be a coincidence, but the timing is off for any etymological relevance.
> LH
>> On Jan 27, 2020, at 1:38 PM, Margaret Winters <mewinters at WAYNE.EDU> wrote:
>> If it were played in Southern Illinois (aka Little Egypt), saluki would be more probable - and the saluki is the Southern Illinois University mascot.  I doubt that as NY kids we'd ever heard of them and our parents, immigrants and children of immigrants, even less so.
>> ----------------------------
>> Former Provost
>> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
>> Wayne State University
>> Detroit, MI  48202
>> mewinters at wayne.edu
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 1:32 PM
>> Subject: Re: monkey in the middle (1952)
>> Wild guess: from Saluki hunting dog, alternate spelling Salugi??
>> SG
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Mark Mandel <markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 1:25 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] monkey in the middle (1952)
>> My demographics for this are close to Laurence's in space though later in
>> time: Manhattan, Upper West Side, circa 80s-90s (West *n*th Streets, not
>> decades; those were early sixties for me), including where I lived and the
>> K-12 school I attended, both in the first block from Central Park West.
>> Also, like Laurence, a group of boys only, with me as the nerdy victim.
>> Now that you mention it, Wilson, I do remember the name "Saluggi", though
>> it was a long time till I learned a way to spell it. There are several;
>> Barry Popik, an indefatigable and reliable investigator of word and
>> expression histories (as I'm sure you all know), has an article about it on
>> his website at
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.barrypopik.com_index.php_new-5Fyork-5Fcity_entry_salugi-5For-5Fsaloogie&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=Q23hhWARxSAW3601DIaZW_r6ymGn3Um7ahP_XfIioyY&e= .
>> Saluggi's, I find, is the name of a restaurant/pizzeria in New York with a
>> couple of locations (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.saluggis.com&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=c7Z_R3WB9EKvOrRPRNl3oeNUuKw1T1trWoLGrJpZz3o&e= ), but I haven't seen anything
>> on their website about the name itself, and the "game" is probably much,
>> much older than the chain.
>> Mark Mandel
>> On Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 10:27 AM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>>> On Jan 27, 2020, at 10:24 AM, Margaret Winters <mewinters at WAYNE.EDU>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I'm pretty sure we didn't have anything called "Saluggi" - but I'm
>>> remembering about a decade later, Brooklyn instead of Washington Heights,
>>> maybe just for boys…??
>>> Our group was indeed just boys, but I don’t know if there was a crucial
>>> gender divide. My previous dialectological inquiries (i.e. asking random
>>> people my age who grew up in NYC) do suggest a localized use within
>>> Manhattan extending to the east side as well as Washington Heights, but I
>>> don’t have enough data points to propose an isogloss.
>>>> ----------------------------
>>>> Former Provost
>>>> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
>>>> Wayne State University
>>>> Detroit, MI  48202
>>> ________________________________
>>>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
>>> Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 10:07 AM
>>>> Hunh.  For me, b. 1945 NYC, growing up in Washington Heights, there were
>>> not two versions of a single game, but two very different “games”. The
>>> actual game was Monkey-in-the-MIddle (aka Keepaway).  The one where you
>>> (not me) take something from a younger or vulnerable kid (sometimes me),
>>> perhaps a hat or a baseball glove, and pass it back and forth among your
>>> confederates, was Saluggi.  At least that’s how I’d spell it, given what I
>>> remember about its pronunciation at the time.  So you could say “Let’s play
>>> Monkey-in-the-MIddle/Keepaway, I’ll be it”.  But you could not, in the
>>> early to mid 1950s, call “Let’s play Saluggi, I’ll be it”.  Barring
>>> clinical masochism, I suppose, but we didn’t know from that.
>>>> LH
>>>>> On Jan 27, 2020, at 7:48 AM, Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> Like Margaret and Mark I remember the quote game unquote, and not with
>>> fondness. I only remember
>>>>> the malicious version, and I, being the nerdy kid, was usually the
>>> victim. Again, early sixties.
>>>>> Geoff
>>>>> Geoffrey S. Nathan
>>>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__blogs.wayne.edu_proftech_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=B-9VeIAwoXlp6YN7X7eAp64-EqqO0UPVdZovtOKddps&e=
>>>>> geoffnathan at wayne.edu
>>>>> From: Mark Mandel<mailto:markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
>>>>> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2020 12:52 AM
>>>>> Subject: Re: monkey in the middle (1952)
>>> ----------------------
>>>>> I do not like the memories this brings up in me.
>>>>> I knew the expression all too well as a schoolboy in New York in the
>>> 1960s.
>>>>> After school some of my classmates would play this "game" (also called
>>>>> "keep-away") with my hat or other possession snatched from me, yelling
>>>>> "Monkey in the middle!" as they threw my property to each other over my
>>>>> head and I ran frantically between them, trying in vain to reach one of
>>>>> them before they could throw it out of my reach.
>>>>> MAM
>>>>> On Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 6:08 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> The children's game "monkey in the middle" is in OED3 (Sept. 2002
>>> update)
>>>>>> from 1980. Here are some cites from New Jersey newspapers in the '50s.
>>>>>> ---
>>>>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.newspapers.com_clip_43065809_monkey-5Fin-5Fthe-5Fmiddle_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=mhm1fApsfUPdxBA1cs67gvEmwRzv0z7EdUN8qH1wwSM&e=
>>>>>> Belleville (NJ) Times, July 24, 1952, p. 6, col. 6
>>>>>> Mrs. Virtue, one of our directors, made up some five bean bags, and
>>> taught
>>>>>> us the game "monkey in the middle." It sure has had great success and
>>> is
>>>>>> enjoyed by youngsters of all ages.
>>>>>> ---
>>>>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.newspapers.com_clip_43065650_monkey-5Fin-5Fthe-5Fmiddle_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=9ie13wBSizcFPLk8pX7ahP0QsHW4bifxGZE7ttaj2ig&e=
>>>>>> Verona-Cedar Grove (NJ) Times, July 28, 1955, p. 2, col. 5
>>>>>> Despite the heat wave the children seemed to have quite an active week
>>> on
>>>>>> the Forest Avenue playground. Although checkers, kings, Chinese
>>> checkers.
>>>>>> Mad Maze, Lucky Shot and horseshoes were the most popular, there were
>>> still
>>>>>> some badminton, softball, dodge ball, spud and Monkey in the Middle
>>> games.
>>>>>> ---
>>>>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.newspapers.com_clip_43053896_monkey-5Fin-5Fthe-5Fmiddle_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=9KggYCg3iCBBcj3z9j1vbFX90YTU1Uva5oetpmPI9Xk&e=
>>>>>> Courier-News (Plainfield, NJ), June 11, 1957, p. 25, col. 1
>>>>>> More than 200 children and their parents participated in the annual
>>> picnic
>>>>>> and field day of the Hebrew Institute held Sunday at Green Brook
>>> Park...
>>>>>> Awards in games were as follows: Relay -- Jay Cherlow, Jack Ruden,
>>> Larry
>>>>>> Sletzinger, Joel Taub, Jonathan Lippman, Mark Hitzig, Marilyn Siegel;
>>> nut
>>>>>> potato race, Jay Lichtenstein; Monkey in the Middle, Joy Herzog...
>>> [etc.]
>>>>>> ---
>>>>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.newspapers.com_clip_43059206_monkey-5Fin-5Fthe-5Fmiddle_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=Pnx6tgUh5IUlTQKkSQ7Dn8o_2lz49zPGiXI2uHIO9IU&s=Z-eqB1dJHoMa7ogylQBVVZwQn3Vel0wpQjYFIrfhvoI&e=
>>>>>> The Millburn & Short Hills (NJ) Item, July 11, 1957, p. 6, col. 4
>>>>>> The middle age group have a variety of games: volley ball, relay races
>>>>>> (which are very exciting), giant steps, monkey in the middle, red
>>> light,
>>>>>> red rover, and checkers. The wee ones have two favorite games, which
>>> they
>>>>>> play constantly: Simon Says, and Duck, Duck, Goose.
>>>>>> ---
>>>>>> --bgz

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