The Washerwoman’s Genes

February 13, 2006

Yankee from Connecticut?

Filed under: Clothesline — by WWG @ 8:14 pm

The phrase in the note by Rev. William Boyce from 1827 (see “They were ancestors . . .” from Feb. 13, 2006) suggests that the title of Twain’s 1889 story probably derived from a commonplace expression in use at least fifty years prior. I’ve been trying to find out more about it. According the American Heritage Dictionary, “yankee” has been around since 1757, its origins probably from the Dutch “Janke,” a nickname in use since the 17th century and probably derisive. As in Twain’s story, the phrase “Yankee from Connecticut” seems to convey a rogue or shallow, irresponsible fellow. But when was it first used? Of course, poor Rachel Winne’s bad boy was likely from Connecticut–it’s just that the minister chose to twist the knife by calling him a “Yankee from Connecticut.”

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1 Comment »

  1. Love reading your blog. Great info!

    Comment by Satellite Guy — August 1, 2007 @ 6:35 pm |Reply


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