This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
The ety. of wog is unknown; suggestions include that of F. C. Bowen in Sea Slang (1929) who includes `Wogs, lower class Babu shipping clerks on the Indian coast', but provides no further detail; popular belief has always chosen the acronym WOG: westernized oriental gentleman or wily oriental gentleman, while slang guru Eric Partridge opts for what he sees as the simplest and most obvious root: an abbreviation of SE golliwog. Certainly this once-popular doll, with its caricatured `black' features, has long since been marginalised as politically incorrectACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Jonathon Green