Proposal for a Chinook word for motorcycle

Nadja Adolf nadolf at NAVITEL.COM
Thu Mar 11 17:55:58 UTC 1999

I propose piah Siskiyou for motorcycle.

I have some reasons for this coming from the 19th C
treatment and trimming of horses.

Race horses, fast riding horses, and fast harness
horses were the most likely to have their tails docked -
bobbed - and so I think this term conveys the speed
and excitement factor of the motorcycle.

If one looks at 19th C descriptions of race horses, the
bobtail often figures - even in folk songs. Hackney harness
horses - the fast coach horses of England had their tails
bobbed, fox hunting horses were bobbed, harness race
horses were often bobbed where dedicating a horse to
racing didn't violate religious injunctions and southern
"walk-trot" plantation horses (now known as the walk-trot
or "three gaited" class of the American Saddle Horse breed)
were bobbed.

("Bet my money on the bobtailed nag, somebody bet on the bay."
Bay being a reference to a particular color of horse - note that the
first to bet picked the bobtail.)

(There is still a vestige of tail bobbing in the American Saddle
Horse show dress - the five-gaited wear a full mane and tail,
the "walk trot" has a roached (shaved) mane, and the dock
(bone) of the tail is plucked or shaved, leaving a whisk at the end.)

(Harness racing originated in parts of the country where racing
and wagers were considered frivolous or immoral by religion. The
competitive nature of horse lovers surfaced in increasingly extreme
efforts to be first to church - a stallion known as "Morgan's Horse"
became not only a major founder of the Morgan riding and harness
horse breed, but through his descendant Blackhawk Morgan, contributed
a great deal to the Standardbred trotting-pacing harness racing breed.
I have to dig it out, but I believe I have seen references to a sermon
where a local preacher saw through the various extreme, and sometimes
expensive, efforts to be first to church. Special buggies, special horses,
and such - and woe upon the man who bobbed the tail of a road horse.)

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