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unusual eke name
Posted: 08 July 2013 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m reading James Michener’s 1977 Sports in America and there was a baseball player in the 1920s known as Bugger Welch. Why was he called this?

bug·ger 1 (bgr, bg-)
n.
1. Vulgar Slang A sodomite.
2. Slang A contemptible or disreputable person.
3. Slang A fellow; a chap: “He’s a silly little bugger, then” (John le Carré).
v. bug·gered, bug·ger·ing, bug·gers Vulgar Slang
v.intr.
To practice sodomy.
v.tr.
1. To practice sodomy with.
2. To damn.
Phrasal Verb:
bugger off
Chiefly British Slang To leave someone alone; go away.
[Middle English bougre, heretic, from Old French boulgre, from Medieval Latin Bulgarus; see Bulgar.]

Definition 3 might work if it’s used in the US but surely everyone would have been aware of the other meanings too. Brits sometimes say “Stop playing silly buggers” ie behave yourself, and it can be an endearment: “Fancy a pint, you old bugger?”
Pure speculation: it’s from his “bugging” (annoying) opposing teams with his fine play.

Is it true all American sporting nicknames are affectionate?

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Posted: 08 July 2013 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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James K. Skipper’s Baseball Nicknames: A Dictionary of Origins and Meanings (p. 298) says “Origin unknown.”

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Posted: 08 July 2013 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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surely everyone would have been aware of the other meanings too.

The “sodomite” definition for “bugger” is not at all well known in the US. Personally, I’ve never heard an American use the word except in the expression “cute little bugger” which I would consider old fashioned these days.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes, HDAS says, “The S.E. sense ‘sodomite’ is no longer commonly understood in the U.S.”

As a result, HDAS also gives the senses of: despicable person, fellow (as in “cute little bugger"), thing, difficult task.

The nickname might also be a variant of booger. I’ve known several people with the nickname booger in my life, bestowed upon them for some failing of nasal hygiene.

I have no idea why Bugger Welch was so called, but there are multiple possibilities.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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"unusual eke name”

What does eke mean in this context?

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Posted: 08 July 2013 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Eke, from the Old English eaca, is an obsolete word meaning additional. An ekename, therefore, is an additional name. Through metanalysis the phrase an ekename became a nickname.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think it’s cognate with the German auch, “also”

John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown,
A train-band captain eke was he,
Of famous London town.

W. Cowper, John Gilpin’s Ride, 17-something

Eke name was new to me—I like it. You spell it as both one and two words, Dave. Are both spellings equally acceptable?

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Posted: 08 July 2013 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I only spelled it one way, ekename.

The OED headword is hyphenated, but all the citations are ekename. Given that the word is obsolete, I don’t think it matters whether you spell it ekename, eke-name, or eke name. It will either be understood or not, the spelling won’t make a difference.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I only spelled it one way, ekename.

ֿ

I was looking at the heading of the thread. But of course, that was venomousbede’s spelling. My mistake.

[ Edited: 08 July 2013 09:20 PM by lionello ]
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Posted: 08 July 2013 10:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’ve never heard of ekename.  How common is it?

And in the UK, the noun “bugger” isn’t usually associated with sodomy, and often used jocularly or familiarly as in, “you old bugger!” as is the interjection, “bugger (it)!” if eg a task goes wrong.  “Buggery” and the verb “bugger” however, refer to sodomy.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 03:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Eliza,

The inside story here is that the term “nickname” comes from the phrase “an eke name,” or in modern English, “an also name.”

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Posted: 09 July 2013 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Definition 3 might work if it’s used in the US but surely everyone would have been aware of the other meanings too. Brits sometimes say “Stop playing silly buggers” ie behave yourself, and it can be an endearment: “Fancy a pint, you old bugger?”
Pure speculation: it’s from his “bugging” (annoying) opposing teams with his fine play.

Possible. Also, it might be that he used the word “bugger” so often that he was given the nickname. Or maybe his coach called him “bugger” without an apparent reason. There’s a lot of possible origins of that nickname and we can only speculate. I assume that “Bugger” Welch has passed away, so you can’t ask him… so I think that this will remain a mystery, sorry.

By the way, the “ekename -> nickname” discussion - very interesting. I didn’t know that “nickname” stemmed from a simple misdivision.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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They are usually trotted out in the populist introductions to linguistics and English I have read: a norange (cf. Spanish naranja), a nadder (the snake). There must be many more instances of elision or metanalysis (a nalysis? ;))

There have been many unpopular athletes down the years. Are these ever reflected in their nicknames? as I asked. I can’t think of any in the UK but I don’t follow sport. Opposing fans would bestow them perhaps but in such a case they would not enter popular usage and in end up in a book like the one LH mentions about baseball nicknames.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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venomousbede - 09 July 2013 12:11 PM

They are usually trotted out in the populist introductions to linguistics and English I have read: a norange (cf. Spanish naranja), a nadder (the snake). There must be many more instances of elision or metanalysis (a nalysis? ;))

A napron.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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My favourite is the Hertfordshire hamlet that started in Anglo-Saxon times as æt þǽm éastan hæge, or “at the eastern hedged enclosure”, and became thoroughly Nasty.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The latest Grammar Girl podcast addresses this very subject.

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