Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 09:21:00 EST

From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU

Subject: "gawmy"

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

even 'awkward.')

(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.

Dennis Preston