[Ads-l] Skedaddle, skedaddling (incremental antedating to 1858?; 1859)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 17 16:45:40 UTC 2021

Thanks. Peter. Apologies for missing your valuable article on this topic.

Regarding "scud": A letter writer in August 1862 referred to Gaelic,
Welsh, and Swedish while suggesting that skedaddle may have been
constructed from scud+daddle or skud+daddle. Follow the link to see
the clipping with the full text.

Date: August 30, 1862
Newspaper: Rutland Daily Herald
Newspaper Location: Rutland, Vermont
Article: Origin of "SKEDADDLE"
Author: A correspondent in Albany Evening Journal (reprinted)
Quote Page 2, Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com


[Begin excerpt]
"Skedaddle" might be derived more naturally from skud or scud and
daddle than from the Greek "Skedao."
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 11:51 AM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I was browsing the McGregor newspaper to see some local history of my
> nearby hometown, which is mentioned frequently in that paper.
> I ran across a word that might, maybe, could be related?  The word is
> "scud," used at least regionally, apparently to mean leave, leave in a
> hurry, or move quickly - like scoot.  "Scud" is used as a past tense.
> Searching is difficult because most of the search results are for
> "send," and many other results are from the more conventional sense of
> "scudding."
> "Scud" appears to have a more common usage elsewhere, as a nautical term
> with sailboats "scudding" in the wind, a yacht named "Scud," and as a
> weather term for certain kinds of "scud" clouds.
> But at least regionally along the upper Mississippi, it appears to have
> been used where "skedaddle" might later have been used, and I can
> imagine someone elaborating on "scud" and adding "scud-addled" to be
> funny.  No smoking gun, but a possibility?
> The one example I found is also from Mcgregor, Iowa.
> "A steamboat man came on shore the other day, enquired for 'Big Andy,'
> took a look at him and scud instantly for the water!"
> The North Iowa Times (Mcgregor, Iowa), June 13, 1860, page 2.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73671783/the-north-iowa-times/
> I found two other examples of "scud" as walking, but they do not seem to
> be perfect matches.  In each case, they used a nautical term, "to scud
> under bare poles," as a metaphor for how women walking with their
> dresses gathered close to the body.  "To scud under bare poles"
> apparently refers to a sailing ship at sea, under the effects of wind
> and current, with their sails down - the masts, or poles, bare.
> One example, women gather up their clothing to walk home in the rain
> (well, they thought it was raining).
> "The scamps got a few pails of water, and wet the stairs and sidewalk
> with a thorough drenching, and stood all around the doorway with their
> umbrellas wide spread; which ominous sight was taken by the young ladies
> and their beaux as they came down stairs as a pretty good sign of rain
> overhead.  It is said that the girls pulled out their handkerchiefs and
> covered up their bonnets, and gathered their silks, lawns and dimity, in
> their hands, and thus close reefed, under bare poles began to scud
> towards home."
> Racine Journal (Racine, Wisconsin), June 8, 1859, page 3.
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73672000/racine-journal/
> Another example refers to women post-hoop skirt as "scudding along under
> bare poles."
> "We notice that hoops are rapidly disappearing before fashion's
> imperious mandate, and our belles who a few months since were sailing
> along East Water Street like half inflated balloons, now scud along
> under bare poles, looking like dismantled vessels."
> North Iowa Times (Mcgregor, Iowa), March 21, 1860, page 1 (apparently a
> reprint of an article from the Milwaukee Free Democrat about the end of
> hoop skirt-fashion).
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73676065/the-north-iowa-times/
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 3:23 PM Bonnie Taylor-Blake
> <b.taylorblake at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> "Skedaddle" and variants have come up on the list before, with John
> Baker
> pushing this back to December, 1859. See his post and follow-ups:
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2016-April/141953.html.
> (BTW, OED still shows as its earliest example one from 1861.)
> 1) Here's something from McGregor, Iowa, in the fall of 1858, which
> suggests that a form of "skedaddle" was at least in place there. I'm not
> sure what "we will make it 'Skeedaddle'" means in the first text, though
> "Skeedaddle" is, according to the second, clearly a nickname for someone
> named Harrington. So, "we will make it 'Skeedaddle'" is obviously some
> sort
> of wordplay. (I wish "Skeedaddle" here meant "scatter," but does it seem
> to
> imply "appear"?)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list