[Ads-l] moneker, moniker (and many other spellings)

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Oct 1 03:41:33 EDT 2020


Yes indeed, Jon, a good HDAS article, which I have read. Why my lapse,
though I was not trying to cover ("survey") the waterfront?
Perhaps because
I started this round with a UK-centric view.
Whatever my failing, I sought to help put the eke back in moneker.
Not royal, monarchical.
A nickname, not a name given at birth,
but often a self-designation or accepted as if.

Goranson, Stephen

________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 11:37 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: moneker, moniker (and many other spellings)

Seems like there's an entry in HDAS II as well.

JL

On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 9:44 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> Much info is available in OED, Green's Dictionary o' Slang,
> Partridge/Beale 1984 174/2 and scattered articles and usages. I won't
> attempt a survey.
>
> Liberman's Bibliography lists C. H. Vellacott, "Thieves' Slang,"
> Gentleman's Magazine 1896: 349 which offered: "'Moniker,' a common coster
> word for 'name,' was originally monarch, that is king or No. 1, and thus
> with frank egotism 'I, myself.' The slang use of 'monarco' for 'I' in
> Italian Gergo supports this apparently far-fetched derivation."
>
> Though others support monarch, I, rather, provisionally accept the
> "far-fetched" characterization. Because these (early) names are polar
> opposites of royal Charles, George, James, and Elizabeth.
> Instead, they are nicknames, additional names, individual and intended as
> unique names. Nicknames, from an eke-name ("an ekename" became "a
> nickname"). Hmm. Eke-name , as some have already noted, may seem related to
> the (frequently-used) spelling moneker. Unique name? One (individual) name?
> My (own, for my familiars) name?--not just a plain at-birth given name, as
> some use it today.
>
> One could cite many examples of monekers. One of the more elaborate lists
> is "'Monekers,' Names by which Noted Criminals are Known in their
> Professional Circles, In Other Words, a Rogues' Directory [etc.], St. Louis
> Globe-Democrat (Missouri), March 6, 1882 p. 10 [newspapers.com] lists and
> describes 107 (!) such named persons, and often their given name and
> specialty. E.g., "'Tiger Jim,' is Chas. Montgomery, a burglar, who has the
> name tattoed on his arm."
>
> Others also use the moneker spelling, such as "A Literary Bohemia", St.
> James Magazine [Proquest], April, 1868, 433, and "The Tramp; or Caste in
> the Jungle," New Outlook, August 19, 1911, pages 871, 873, 874, 875
> ("Susquehana Red"--again, hardly a royal name-- and so on).
>
> Stephen "moneker-speller' Goranson
>
>
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