Posted: 23 July 2008 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Joined  2008-07-23

Does anyone know anything about this being a reference to cord for the king (corde de roi)?

Posted: 23 July 2008 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1541
Joined  2007-03-21
jennyalynch - 23 July 2008 03:10 PM

Does anyone know anything about this being a reference to cord for the king (corde de roi)?

This is what’s called a “folk etymology.” It is all about folks looking at a word and coming up with a plausible but highly inaccurate word history. 

Your note got posted in our “test” area and you need to ask the question again in the general discussion area.

Meanwhile, this might suffice. The idea there is that the “cords” or lengthwise cords or ridges are made out of a rough woolen fabric called by an obsolete name “duroy”. edit: perhaps related to durable.


[ Edited: 23 July 2008 06:46 PM by Oecolampadius ]
Posted: 24 July 2008 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Joined  2007-01-03

[Moved thread to General Discussion from Test]

Folk etymology can be a confusing term. Not only can it be used to refer to fanciful word origins invented without research, but it’s also a type of linguistic change where an unfamiliar term is morphed into one that is more familiar. Thus catercorner becomes kittycorner.

Posted: 24 July 2008 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Joined  2007-02-17

I prefer the term Hobson-Jobsonism for the latter.

Posted: 25 July 2008 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Total Posts:  1360
Joined  2007-04-28

Brewer’s Millennium Dictionary (offline) says no such term (corde du roi) exists in French but

“The true origin may be in English ‘cord’ in the sense of ribbed fabric and duroy, an obsolete name for a coarse woollen cloth” as Ocoelampadius says.

Posted: 25 July 2008 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Total Posts:  3317
Joined  2007-01-31

On the other hand, the OED2 says

A name app. of English invention: either originally intended, or soon after assumed, to represent a supposed Fr. *corde du roi ‘the king’s cord’; it being a kind of ‘cord’ or corded fustian.
No such name has ever been used in French: on the contrary, among a list of articles manufactured at Sens in 1807, Millin de Grandmaison Voyage d. Départ. du Midi I. 144 enumerates ‘étoffes de coton, futaines, kings-cordes’, evidently from English. Wolstenholme’s Patent of 1776 mentions nearly every thing of the fustian kind except corduroy, which yet was well known by 1790. Duroy occurs with serge and drugget as a coarse woollen fabric manufactured in Somersetshire in the 18th c., but it has no apparent connexion with corduroy. A possible source has been pointed out in the English surname Corderoy.]

You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Possibly relevant to the last suggestion in the OED, all the pre-1800 cites use the spelling “corderoy”; the -u- was apparently a later modification.

And I don’t know where etymonline (at Oeco’s “this” link) gets the notion that it originated as American English.

[ Edited: 25 July 2008 08:48 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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