[Ads-l] "Lagniappe" (slight antedating, 1846)

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 2 20:55:24 UTC 2021

I've lately been attracted to odd American words and phrases that appeared
before the Civil War. As many of you know, however, it's sometimes
difficult to search for these things, given the diversity of spellings.

With that caveat, I've gathered some early appearances of "lagniappe,"
below. (The OED's earliest example is from 1849.) I suspect some of you
will do better. The OED shares the variants "lagnappe," "lanyap,"
"lanyappe," and "lanyope," but creative speller-searchers here may find
still earlier and unanticipated forms.

(Note that I've also tacked on, as lagniappe, an 1842 usage in a
French-language newspaper published in New York City. I think I should get
a little credit for it, though, since -- of "la gniappe" -- the writer
specifies "comme disent les Louisianais.")

-- Bonnie


(Asterisks below indicate italicized text.)

The same music and noise is now heard in the camp of the 7th Infantry below
us -- ta-ta-ta-ra-ra-ra-ta-ta-r-r goes the shrill noise of the trumpet
among the Dragoons -- bum-bum-bum is bellowed out by old "Rough and Ready"
at the fort, which is answered by the little 6s in each regiment, followed
with three times three, and three for *la gniappe*, from 10,000 mouths,
which reverberates and echoes along the banks of the Rio Grande. (From
"Fourth July at Matamoras [sic]," The Missippippi Democrat [Carrollton], 29
July 1846, p. 1. This is prefaced with "Correspondence of the N.O. Delta."
No idea what "little 6s" are -- horns, guns?)

When Mr. Hunt concluded, the meeting, on motion, adjourned, giving three
loud cheers and one by way of *lagniappe* for the cause. (From "WHIG
MEETING; Nomination of Delegates to the Whig National Convention," The
Northern Standard [Clarksville, Texas], 22 April 1848, p. 2. A note at the
top of the article reports, "From the Delta." Presumably "the Delta" is New
Orleans's Daily Delta or Weekly Delta.)

When a democratic General Council (if *ever* we have another of that
political character) in appointing commissioners, shall select sixty out of
the sixty-three against which the whigs can find no reasonable objection,
we will consent without grumbling to allow them to retain the odd three,
however obnoxious they may be, and throw them in as *lagniappe*. (From "The
Late Election," Daily Crescent [New Orleans], 12 November 1849, p. 2.)

Thomas Elworth a complété et gagné hier le pari accepté par lui de faire
1,000 milles en mille heures consécutives, à Cambridge près de Boston. Il
avait gangé à 4 heures du matin et a fait encore un mille par heure jusqu'à
5 heures du soir; c'était pour *la gniappe*, comme disent les Louisianais.
(From "Un Rude Marcheur," in "Fait Divers," Courrier des Etats-Units [New
York City], 8 October 1842, p. 2.)

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

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