[Ads-l] Article on the etymology of the term "hooker"

Dennis During dcduring at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 29 02:49:19 UTC 2021

I did not find any reference to *hooker-in  *("a person hired to bring a
customer into a store") in the article. I don't know whether the OED has
it. As of today Wiktionary has it.

* 1843, *The North of England Magazine*, "Commercial Solicitors", Volume
II, Number XVI, page=419
These gentlemen are *Hookers-in*; or, as they more euphoniously style
themselves, ''Commercial Solicitors''. Their employers are the country
trade merchants of Manchester; their duty is to stand at the door of their
respective warehouses "from morn till dewy eve," there to take forcible
possession of each and every passenger who may have the outward semblance
of a country draper, or other consumer of Manchester goods, and to drag him
into the establishment whose interest they have the honour to represent.
[...] Let it not be imagined that a *hooker-in* is a disreputable
character--generally speaking he is quite the reverse.

*1854, Household Words, editor (author?) Charles Dickens, Volume XXV, "A
Manchester Warehouse|", page 399
[...] let us observe that the method of business at some of the second-rate
houses is not always so straightforward. Many descend to the petty
expedient of employing touters (hookers in, they are called), who frequent
the railway stations and the coffee-rooms of inns, and hook in the unwary
draper to their employers' dens. [...] When the honest country draper meets
with a *hooker-in*, when he is hooked by the button-hole on the railway
platform, he had better beware.

* 1938, *Milestones of Marketing: A Brief History of the Evolution of
Market Distribution*, page 156, George Burton Hotchkiss
Then arose, early in the nineteenth century, a curious class of independent
salesmen known as "*hookers-in*" These were employed by the textile
warehouses of manufacturers and merchants to bring in new customers.

This seems clearly a precursor to hooker ("prostitute") by the obvious
behavioral analogy.  I doubt the Hooker family is very much happier with
this association with their name.

On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 6:21 PM Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu>

> Etymologist J. Peter Maher has treated the term hooker
> (prostitute) in a detailed article which appears in Comments
> on Etymology (vol. 50, issue #6-7; March-April 2021, 62 pages),
> I have now put it online and added an index.
> For anyone interested, the link is:
> https://scholarsmine.mst.edu/artlan_phil_facwork/171/
> Gerald Cohen, Ph.D.
> Professor of German & Russian
> Editor, Comments on Etymology
> Department of Arts, Languages, & Philosophy
> Missouri University of Science & Technology
> Rolla, MO 65409
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis C. During

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list