hoedown

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hoedown

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Jan 26, 1999 12:00 am

Can you tell me anything about the etymology of the word
hoedown?
Submitted by Amy Bishop (Booneville - U.S.A.)
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hoedown

Post by Jonathon Green » Fri Jan 29, 1999 8:00 am

A hoedown is defined as a noisy riotous dance and is seen as synonymous with a 'breakdown'. Judging from the citations on offer in the OED, there seems to be some link to the physical action of hoeing, e.g. Washington Irving in 1807: 'As to dancing, no Long-Island negro could shuffle you ‘double trouble’, or ‘hoe corn and dig potatoes’ more scientifically' and the N.O. Picayune in 1841: 'He looks and walks the character to the life, and some of his touches are of the genuine ‘hoe down’, ‘corn-field’ order.' But more than that I can't offer, and surprisingly, the term is not included in the usually magisterial Dict. American Regional English.
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