[Ads-l] "hooker" meaning "prostitute"

James Landau 00000c13e57d49b8-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Sun May 2 19:29:32 UTC 2021

Thomas P. Lowry MD _The Stories the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Six in the Civil War_Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpoloe Books, 1994, ISBN for the paperback edition 978-0-8117-1153-1
A partial version of this book is available on Google Books.  Search on "were called hookers".
extracts from page 147 (apparently this is the page number in the paperback edition)
<begin quote>The 1976 _Supplement to the OED_ lists the word ["hooker"] as American slang for prositute, giving its earliest use as 1845.<snip>William Craigie's 1942 _Dictionary of American English_ cities [sic] the Corlear's Hook area of New York City, where houses of ill fame were concentrated...Craigie found "hooker" as a term for prostitute in use in 1859 [3]<snip>A University of North Caroline professor has found an 1845 letter written by a student to a classmate, using "hooker" in the sense of prostitute [5]<snip>The 1968 Dictionary of the Underword, published in London, gives the same derivation ass Craigie, and cites the source as Bartlett's Americanism, published in 1859.<end quote>
Unfortunately the page containing footnotes [3] and [5] is not available from Google Books.  Anybody with better library access than I is welcome to further research the above.
Dr. Lowry also discusses, without endorsing it, the legend that prostitutes were called "hookers" after Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, a less-than-outstanding Union general in the Civil War.  I might add that the existence of this legend, whether true or false, us evidence that "hooker" was a well-known term for prostitute in the Civil War era, as this legend certainly antedates Xaviera Hollander's book.

James Landau
jjjrlandau at netscape.com

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

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