Thursday, February 16, 2006


What's the history of "hoosegow"? Is it a word used mostly in mysteries?
Though hoosegow, which means 'a jail', is found in mysteries, is is chiefly used in Westerns.

The word is an Anglicization of Mexican Spanish juzgao, a variant of juzgado, which also means 'jail'. This word is a borrowing from Standard Spanish juzgado 'a courtroom; panel of judges', the past participle of juzgar 'to judge', from Latin judicare.

Hoosegow doesn't have that many related forms; some rare ones are gow 'a jail', and hoose and hoosegow as verbs meaning 'to jail'. Despite the superficial similarity in spelling, the word jug 'a jail'; 'to jail' is not related; it's a figurative use of jug 'large container with cap and narrow neck'.

The word hoosegow is first found in English in 1908.

Oh and I think my work computer has psychological issues.


Post a Comment

<< Home