Date: Sun, 31 Aug 1997 01:49:16 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Hoagies; Gyp Joint In the "videorazzi" posting, "beys" is a typo for "keys." I lost today's $25 million lotto drawing. So much for that idea of DARE funding. If no one won, I'll play again next week for $40 million. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- HOAGIES John Ayto's book on food words is infinitely better than the recent LADYFINGERS; Ayto says the meaning of "hoagie" is a mystery, while the latter book didn't mention it at all. In my limited time for research, I can clearly discount the "hokey-pokey" derivation cited previously in a book by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Philadelphia. Didn't they do ANY "hoagie" research? If they did, they should have found this in Philadelphia magazine, November 1970, page 82: A GREASY DOZEN A gastronomic quest for the perfect hoagie unearthed one runny exemplar and 11 slippery also-rans BY WILLIAM K. MANDEL (...) Before setting out in actual quest of the perfect hoagie, we had to determine what the perfect hoagie is. But first, a little history: the origin of the name "hoagie" is the subject of bitter debate among people who can get excited about that sort of thing. The oldest legend has it that the Italian workers laboring at Hog Island--near the present Naval Base during World War I--took their lunches to work inside large Italian breads. From Hog Island came "hoggie," which in time was corrupted to "hogie" and then turned into "hoagie." Field research has shown that several older shops in South Philadelphia still advertise their specialty as "hogies," which clamps down the case right there. The hoagie, by the way, has spread to other localities where its etymology has been somewhat corrupted. In New England it's called a grinder; in New York it's a submarine--sub for short--or hero sandwich; in Reading it's known as an Italian sandwich and in the Lancaster area it's a zep. Thus, it's a simple transition from Hog Island to "hogie"--which should be "hoggie" but became "hoagie." Too bad; I liked the strip club "ho" etymology. Oh well. This is from the Philadelphia magazine "Dining Out" for August 1972, page 149: One last place we know for particular tastes is the takeout counter at Woolworth's, 1330 Chestnut Street. Woolie's makes an ultra-cheap 45-cent hoagie filled with the most ordinary ingredients, sliced razor-thin. It should taste awful, but somehow it doesn't. It's one of the most popular items on their menu, sampled by every one from business executives to down-and-outs, We personally know one editor of a famous magazine who occasionally passes up the $5 Big Lunch to have a Woolie's hoagie. For another 20 cents, you can get the jumbo size with twice as many razor-thin ingredients, but it really doesn't taste any better. R.I.P. to the Woolie's hoagie. Tempus fugit. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- GYP JOINT According to, the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang H-R is out! I haven't finished antedating the first one. "Gyp joint" is defined as "a business establishment that makes a practice of fleecing customers." The earliest HDAS citation is in 1927 by T. A. Dorgan, cited from the TAD LEXICON. As with the "hot dog," TAD didn't coin the term. This is from Variety, 6 January 1926, pg. 11, last column (5?): CLEANUP ON 'GYPSY' JOINTS Skull Examiners Visited Many on Avenues The phrenologists' "joints" that have sprung up like mushrooms just east and west of the "big stem" (Broadway--ed.) are in for a cleanup, according to Plainclothes Patrolman Charles Stapleton and Harold O'Neil of the West 47th street station. Within a few days they "bagged" three. All were convicted. In one case a suspended sentence was imposed. In the other two $10 fines were meted out. These alleged "gypsies" have migrated from other cities. Some came from Canada. Maspeth, L. I. also sent a quota. They have "camped" on 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th avenues. At least a score of places are in operation. During the day the "Romany" mother or sister in her gaudy costume stands inside of the entrance. She raps on the glass panel to attract passersby. She beckons and if lucky gets a customer. Inside the "camps" are countless children. "Mother Gypsy" phrenologist, according to the sign on the door, beings to read one's cranium. First she exacts her fee of $1. Then she starts out looking for bumps. First, the "gypsy" requests you place both hands in your hip pockets. That is to determine if you are a "bull." (...) CAN THEY GIVE ME SIX LOTTO NUMBERS??