[Ads-l] wondering about the origin of "sleigh riding" in New York

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 1 18:21:30 UTC 2021

I 've never heard the term "sleigh-riding" applied to sleds, but when I was
a tad in NYC in the mid-1950s, I called a sled a "sleigh" till I was five
or six years old, and I don't recall ever being directly corrected.

"Sleigh" for "sled" is likewise reflected in this:

1895 _New York Herald_ (Jan. 30) 10: Further on two little girls in knitted
hoods hop cheerily along with a skate apiece, followed at  distance by a
tot with a sled. An envious mate calls out, "Ho, don't them Brown girls
think they're fine wid skates and a sleigh!"

The Dictionary of American Regional English has an entry with quotations
beginning in Ohio in 1827, the first of which actually includes the term

"Two weeks since, it was ...covered with boys and men amusing themselves
with skating and sleigh-riding on the ice, for want of snow."


On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 12:11 PM Michael Malone <mikemalone5a at gmail.com>

> Hi! I sincerely hope I did this correctly and did not violate the norms.
> I'm a journalist looking to do a story on the term "sleigh riding", which
> is how snow sledding is referred to in New York, despite there not being a
> sleigh involved. Wondering if anyone might help trace where/when/how the
> term came to be.
> Thank you and happy new year.
> Mike Malone
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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