Hunc over De: Dutch? 
Posted: 03 October 2007 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
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"Hunc over De” was apparently the name of a club in New York in the 1730’s. The spelling “Hunk over Dee” also occurred. Supposedly the name referred to some game (presumably played by the club members).

In the last half of the 19th century there were a few references to “Hunk o’ Dee” referring (in PA) to a game which was apparently like outdoors hide-and-seek. It was asserted that this was originally “Hunk over Dee” and the same as the name of the New York club much earlier.

Maybe the club played something like hide-and-seek, I don’t know.

“Hunk” is old-fashioned US regional dialect (in DARE) for “home” or “base” in such a game. This is apparently the same as Dutch “honk”.

Could somebody familiar with Dutch attempt to interpret “Hunc over De"/"Hunk over Dee”? Can it make any sense in Dutch as the name of a game, or maybe as some kind of call made during such a game?

[ Edited: 03 October 2007 08:02 PM by D Wilson ]
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Posted: 04 October 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hmm, puzzling. If it is a reference to a Dutch game played by children, only the hunk/honk part makes some sense to me, but that part you already adequately explained. Baseball is called ‘honkbal’ in Dutch BTW.

I don’t know of a name that resembles the name you give. Maybe the ‘de/dee’ part is a corruption of the diminutive suffix ‘-tje’. That means it would have been something with ‘overtje’, analogues to e.g. ‘tikkertje’ (tag).

WNT mentions a number of instances where ‘honk’ is used in a child play context, but nothing with ‘over’. As far as the use of ‘honk’ in American English is concerned, they refer to J.A.H. Murray ‘A New English Dictionary on historical principles’ (isn’t that the predecessor of the OED?). 

There are many regional variants of the names and rules of such games. They even change per generation so I think it is hard to give a definite answer.

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Posted: 04 October 2007 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks.

Suppose the game is called “hunk-a-dee” (some instances of this spelling have been found). Suppose that the “over” is a red herring. which can be ignored.

Can anything reasonable in Dutch be made of “hunk-a-dee”?

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Posted: 05 October 2007 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dropping the ‘over’ does make the expression more “manageable” but I’m still not sure. It would be possible to imagine it evolved from ‘honkertje’ to ‘hunk a dee’. That doesn’t seem too big a stretch but it is pure speculation because I can’t find that the game was ever actually called ‘honkertje’ (there and then).

OTOH Dutch children do have the tendency to use diminutives to describe the games they’re playing. Playing doctor is ‘doktertje’, playing house is ‘vadertje en moedertje’, playing shop is ‘winkeltje’ etc. etc. I can find ‘honken’ (WNT describes it as ‘resting at base’) as a variant, so I would say ‘honkertje’ is, well, conceivable.

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Posted: 08 October 2007 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hunky dory?

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