Date: Thu, 12 May 1994 22:45:49 CDT
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.BITNET
Subject: Re: peckerwood
There was a discussion of 'peckerwood' on this list about a year and a half
ago. It has been around for some time.
1. Insult? Among Southern males it casts mild or strong aspersions on a
person's character, depending on immediate reference.
1'. How it got to be a slur. Maybe because of 'pecker' element.
2. Meaning? For me, implications of dishonesty.
3. Race? Used by both races. I came across a folk tale told by a Black in
St Joseph MO in the 1890s in which a talking bird was sometimes called
'woodpecker' and sometimes 'peckerwood'. If it's crucial, David, I could
look it up for you. I don't know myself how the term is used by
The folk tale with talking birds suggests that the usage may be related in
some way to trickster tales and their cultural application.