fred.shapiro at yale.edu
Tue Aug 9 13:14:27 PDT 2016
In a Project Wombat exclusive, I will present my discovery of the earliest known use of "simoleon":
simoleon (OED 1896)
1881 _Puck_ 13 Apr. 9 (American Periodical Series) And thereupon he goeth down town, and the Nassau Street auctioneer scoopeth him in with a three-trade-shekel chromo and a genuine old master for seven simoleons.
Unfortunately there is no etymological information in this citation.
From: Project-wombat <project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> on behalf of brian whatcott <betwys1 at sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 3:25 PM
To: project-wombat at lists.project-wombat.org
Subject: Re: [PW] simolean
A "six-penny bit" was a UK coin formerly made of silver. It was often
called a "simon", and later a "tanner"
a usage which persisted into the 20th century. Apparently "simon"
signified a dollar in American slang in
the 19th century. Some dictionaries suggest a macaronic elision of
simon and napoleon, a french coin
as the source of this neologism. An internet search notes simoleon as a
newspaper usage in 1883.
On 8/9/2016 10:49 AM, Barbara & George Grenier wrote:
> Hi all
> This is for me. Just curious. The Word of the Day. Origin uncertain
> they say.
> simoleon \suh-MOH-lee-uh n\
> 1. Slang. a dollar.
> What few people know is that Gussie had inked a Lone Star in one
> corner of every single simoleon. Gussie's bills turn up in the
> strangest places -- like Effie Sue Etheridge's garden and the effects
> of two teen-age runaways ...
> -- Kit Reed, "In Short: Fiction; The Laying Out of Gussie Hoot," New
> York Times, January 20, 1991
> ... Gordon paid for a rye whiskey and a Coca-Cola with a simoleon
> that had grains of sand stuck to it.
> Ron Hansen, "Playland," Nebraska, 1989
> Origin of simoleon
> Simoleon is an Americanism, but its origin is uncertain. It may be
> formed on the basis of the word Napoleon, which refers to a gold coin
> issued during Napoleon I's reign.
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