Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 09:21:00 EST
From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU
In southern Indiana/northern Kentucky (at least in the 50's), the expression a
'gommy mess' was common. Please note the spelling. Previous references on the
list suggest 'gawm,' the form recorded in DARE (spelled 'gaum' there, where,
by the way, there are nearly three pages devoted to this very interesting
form). I have the rather distinct memory that 'gommy' was fancy Louisville
talk and that 'gaumy' (or even 'gormy') was backwoods (or other impolite
expressions). (Please note that the area I am referring to is not 'caught-cot'
conflation territory. It's interesting to me that I have only the sense
'sticky mess,' which, I suppose, contributes to my folk-etymological sense
that it is 'gob'+'gummy.' Many DARE enties, however, suggest 'awkwardness,'
which fits better with the 'aw' pronunciation (and relates it to 'gawky,' and
(Anybody for a little sound symbolism? Who feels that the 'auk' (greater or
lesser) is a graceful bird? (Obvious counter-example - 'hawk.')
What am I doing on Sunday morning! Back to VARBRUL.
22709mgr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]msu.edu