[Ads-l] "Pom-poms" - "Pom-pons" (was "to hell in a hand-barrow" interdating 1831)

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 19 03:11:45 UTC 2020

And since chrysanthemums, with their bunches of petals spreading out in all
directions, greatly resemble the cheerleaders' "play-things", this is an
entirely credible source for the latter use of the word.


On Wed, Nov 18, 2020, 4:44 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> An article about a flower show in Chicago in 1900 includes a photograph of
> "Pom-poms", which it says is a style of chrysanthemum.
> The text of the accompanying article also refers to it as the "pompon"
> variety.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/63539885/the-inter-ocean/
> ------ Original Message ------
> From: "Peter Reitan" <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> To: "American Dialect Society" <ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu>
> Sent: 11/18/2020 1:37:13 PM
> Subject: "Pom-poms" - "Pom-pons" (was "to hell in a hand-barrow"
> interdating 1831)
> ...

>The paper "pom-poms" used at fairs and football games appears to have
> >been named from a flower, perhaps similar to a carnation, called a
> >"pom-pom" and a decorative item, like a tassle, on clothing or hats,
> >sometimes a feather pom-pom, sometimes a fur pom-pom. There are
> >instructions on how to make a silk "pom-pom" as early as 1890
> >(Newcastle Weekly Courant (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), April 19,
> >1890, page 3).
> >
> >The automatic guns referred to as pom-poms are first mentioned in 1899,
> >with reference to the South African wars.  So name for the decorative
> >items, of which the later paper pom-poms on sticks are an example, is
> >older than the name of the gun, which presumably has a separate,
> >unrelated etymology.
> >

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