Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 03:48:27 EST


Subject: Podunk

AMERICA IN SO MANY WORDS uses the OED citation and has "Podunk" as the

word-of-the-year for 1846. Unfortunately, neither the RHHDAS nor DARE is up

to "P." (Or maybe fortunately, since this antedate could get in.) The name

"Podunk" itself goes back to at least 1666; the DA's first 19th-century

citation is in 1841.

I can't recall if I thoroughly checked the Boston TOKEN annual almanacs

a few years ago. This is from the Southern Citizen (Asheboro, North

Carolina), 6 December 1839, pg. 4, col. 2:


(From The Token, Boston--1840)


Solomon Waxend was a shoemaker of Podunk, a small village of New Uork

some forty years ago. He was an Englishman by birth, and had come over the

water to mend the institutions, as well as the _soles_, of the country. He

was a perfectly honest man, and of natural good sense; but having taken pretty

large doses of new light from the works of Tom Paine and the French

Revolutionists, he became, like an inflated balloon, light-headed, and soared

aloft into the unknown regions of air.--Like many of his countrymen brought up

under monarchical institutions, he was slow in understanding the mysteries of

our political system; and wanting the ballast of _Yankee_ common sense, he

nevertheless thought himself specially qualified to instruct the people of

Podunk in every thing relating to civil liberty. (...)

Puck of 26 June 1889, pg. 293, col. 2 has a cartoon called "NEW IN

PODUNK." Uncle Abner receives his city niece's present of slippers and says,

"Wife, I'll bet four dollars them slippers was made for some dood thet don't

cross his legs!"