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hoodoo
Posted: 19 January 2013 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Mention of voodoo in the Hindu thread reminded me of “hoodoo”.
Here’s a wikilink:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodoo_(geology)

OED has this to say:

3. A fantastic rock pinnacle or column of rock formed by erosion or other natural agency; an earth-pillar. Also attrib. orig. U.S.

1879 W. Whitman Specimen Days (1882) 148, I had wanted to go to the Yellowstone river region—wanted specially to see..the ‘hoodoo’ or goblin land of that country.

1884 H. Butterworth Zigzag Journeys Western States 54 There is a region there called Goblin Land, full of lofty stone monuments, the remnants of erosion, called hoodoos.

“Also attrib. orig. U.S.” isn’t really satisfying so can anyone add to its etymology?

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Posted: 19 January 2013 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The Merriam Webster company has this to say:

1
: a body of practices of sympathetic magic traditional especially among blacks in the southern United States
2
: a natural column of rock in western North America often in fantastic form
3
: something that brings bad luck
perhaps alteration of voodoo
First Known Use: 1875

ie the word meaning the weird rock pinnacle is the same word as that meaning something that brings bad luck, and hence has the same (basically, unknown) etymology. Perhaps the connection is that the pinnacles look quite spooky.

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Posted: 19 January 2013 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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There may be a folk sense, too:

...the songwriter, John Fogerty, commented:

“Born on the Bayou” was vaguely like “Porterville,” about a mythical childhood and a heat-filled time, the Fourth of July. I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived. It was late as I was writing. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment. Tiny apartments have wonderful bare walls, especially when you can’t afford to put anything on them. “Chasing down a hoodoo.” Hoodoo is a magical, mystical, spiritual, non-defined apparition, like a ghost or a shadow, not necessarily evil, but certainly other-worldly. I was getting some of that imagery from Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters.

-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_on_the_Bayou

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Posted: 19 January 2013 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Just seen this in google books, but maybe someone else can antedate it:

...and were compelled to make a long and terribly trying retreat to the Old Crow Indian Agency in the fall of 1870.  It was this party which discovered the Clark’s Fork Mines, and this region of countless remnants of erosion, so wild, weird, and spectral that they named it the “Hoodoo” or “Goblin Land.”

United States Department of the Interior 1877

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Posted: 19 January 2013 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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From an Abbott and Costello movie (don’t recall which):

You remind me of the man.
What man?
The man with the power.
What power?
The power of hoodoo.
Hoodoo?
You do. 
I do what?
You remind me of the man……

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Posted: 19 January 2013 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But who’s on second!

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Posted: 19 January 2013 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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“Also attrib. orig. U.S.” isn’t really satisfying so can anyone add to its etymology?

“Also attrib.” is a usage note, not an etymological one.  It means that “hoodoo” in this sense is also used as an attributive noun, e.g. “hoodoo rock”, “hoodoo tower”, “hoodoo formation”.
“orig. U.S.” does of course mean that the term was first used in this sense in the U.S.
The fact that this sense is listed as part of the same entry with the other senses of “hoodoo” (presumably the magic and jinx-related senses—I don’t have OED access from home unless I log into my school’s VPN, which is somewhat cumbersome) implies that the editors consider this sense to have arisen from the earlier-listed ones, i.e., that these weirdly shaped rock formations were believed to have supernatural origins or properties.  The attribution of magical or demonic origins or properties to unusual rock formations is pretty common: a familiar example would be “Devil’s Tower”, which featured prominently in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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Posted: 19 January 2013 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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lionello - 19 January 2013 05:30 AM

From an Abbott and Costello movie (don’t recall which):

You remind me of the man.
What man?
The man with the power.
What power?
The power of hoodoo.
Hoodoo?
You do. 
I do what?
You remind me of the man……

That’s life.

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Posted: 20 January 2013 12:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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“Devil’s Tower”, which featured prominently in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

cf. “the Devil’s Punchbowl” near Hindhead, Surrey, U.K.  This is a name of some antiquity, which appears to have achieved a certain popularity: Wikipedia tells us that there are Devil’s Punchbowls in Los Angeles County, central Oregon, and Hamilton, Ontario (picnickers: don’t forget to pack a long spoon ;-)

I remember the movie mentioned by Dr. T --- under-nourished looking aliens (irresponsible, careless drivers, as bad as most human beings), who arrive from outer space in an interstellar Wurlitzer, and abduct people. “Devil’s Tower” could be, I felt, a metaphor for the movie --- a mountain of crap, which would more accurately have been called “Close Encounters of the Turd Kind”. A spectacular waste of talent.

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Posted: 20 January 2013 04:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You beat me to it, lionello. The Punchbowl is quite near me, on the old Portsmouth-London road. A sailor walking back from London to join his ship was brutally murdered in the area in the 1780s by three ruffians and tales of his spectre have added to all the existing lore about the region.

Punch is far from my favourite word at present. We allowed our daughter to celebrate the New Year by throwing a party for her friends. She mixed up a bowl of punch for the occasion but it wasn’t till afterwards that we found out she’d added a few little extras (in the shape of much additional vodka) to the mild recipe we’d put together for her. The result, a houseful of drunken teenagers shouting, arguing, weeping, singing and screaming, was not pretty and our daughter is now paying the price for her folly: an extended grounding.

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Posted: 20 January 2013 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks, Dr. T.  I hadn’t realized that.

Aldi, been there and done that.  Believe me, grounding is MUCH more of a punishment on the parent.  I’ve ruined many a holiday making sure defiant teenagers remained grounded.

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Posted: 20 January 2013 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Teenagers gotta be teenagers.

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Posted: 23 January 2013 03:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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... and so, with “punch”, from the Sanskrit pañca, “five”, named for its (originally) five ingredients, we knit neatly back into the ‘Hindoo’ thread, where “Punjab”, “land of the five rivers”, from Persian panj, “five”, plus āb, “water”, was mentioned by LH.

As the father of a 13-year-old, I shall definitely be monitoring strictly all teenage party drinks for the next five years.

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Posted: 23 January 2013 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Bless you, Zythophile, and thanks.

The wording of your post seemed to imply that punch was so named by a person, or by people, with knowledge of Sanskrit. This struck me as a bit far-fetched. A quick check at Wikipedia* made everything clear: panch is a Hindi, not a Sanskrit word (in Romanian, it’s cinci --- not sure about Bordurian). Call me nitpicker of you will: I find a difference between what you wrote and what you meant.
Once the nit was picked, I read the rest of the Wikipedia article (anything positive written about ethanolophoric beverages fascinates this old toper), and learned about the delightful (and obviously very ancient, and very pagan) custom of wassailing. I was familiar with the word wassail, and with the ancient toast waes hael and its response, drinc hael --- but nothing did I know of wassailing, as practiced in Southern England.  Thanks to you, Zythophile, for that little jewel of trivial but precious knowledge.

While we’re on to booze --- at one time or another, English persons have invited me to take part in a libation. Let me point out that a libation is an offering to a god or gods, and is poured out onto an altar --- which, to a sceptic, seems a shocking waste of good liquor. If we’re going to use Latin roots, might I propose instead a potation --- or, more companionably, a compotation?

;-)

* Bless Wikipedia too, three times three......

(edited to avoid redundancy)

[ Edited: 23 January 2013 08:15 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 23 January 2013 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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You’re probably aware that the radical meaning of the somewhat dry and dusty-sounding academic term symposium is “drinking together.”

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Posted: 23 January 2013 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I, for one, was not, Dr. Techie; for this light relief, τα muchly.

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