cakewalk

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cakewalk

Post by Archived Topic » Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:27 pm

I have been trying to find the origin of the work Cakewalk. Does anyone have some information?

I have found only one brief reference in an etymology book that I have. I am paraphrasing here... It says that it may have originated in the 1860s from the practice of giving the winner of a "walking contest" a cake. Sometime around the late 1800s is got the meaning "something easy."

Submitted by Bill Bates (San Jose - U.S.A.)
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:41 pm

Well, I kept searching and I have found confirmation of my etymology book and a lot more explanation. Without trying to explain it all here, for those interested, here is a good resource for the word...

http://www.streetswing.com/histmain/z3cake1.htm

Thanks...

Bill
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:56 pm

Now why can't more people answer their own questions, like Bill here? That sure would make the WordWizards' jobs easier! *G*
Reply from K Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:10 pm

Okay, one problem with my excitement... althoug we learn where the word came from, we still have no definative answer on where the moden meaning came from...
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:25 pm

Perhaps his real first name is Master.
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:39 pm

I'm just guessing here, Bill, but I'd bet the modern meaning derives from the older "cakewalk." Here in the Midwest, one can still occasionally find a cakewalk, usually at a fall festival or county fair. All the participants (who each pay a small fee) walk around a numbered circle until the music stops (kind of like musical chairs). Then, a number is drawn; whoever is standing on that number wins a cake. Since the only requirement for winning a cake is knowing how to walk (and how to stop), it's a pretty easy contest to win. Eventually, the term "cakewalk" came to mean anything that was extremely easy.
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:53 pm

cake·walk (kāk'wôk')
n.
Something easily accomplished: Winning the race was a cakewalk for her.
A 19th-century public entertainment among African Americans in which walkers performing the most accomplished or amusing steps won cakes as prizes.

A strutting dance, often performed in minstrel shows.
The music for this dance.
intr.v., -walked, -walk·ing, -walks.
To perform a strutting dance.

cake'walk'er n.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Leif, WA, USA
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:08 pm

Hey K Allen Griffy, if everyone answered their own question there would be no need for Wordwizard! There are a great many of us who thoroughly enjoy reading the enlightening answers and some of us get tired of your complaints about how dumb we are.
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Cakewalk?

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:51 pm

I've working on a Fall festival and been trying to figure out what the old time Cake Wwalk was. I'm in the Midwest (Kansas) and I got my answer from K Allen Griffy, Springfield, ILL. Thanks!
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A cakewalk

Post by Mel » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:41 pm

I always thought that a cakewalk meant something that was easy to accomplish.
Wikipedia states that is originates from a dance competition among slaves with a large cake as the prize. Could there be another origin for this phrase?
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Re: A cakewalk

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:52 pm

I have always known about the dance, and because I knew about it I just accepted that it was a dance with easy steps. I'll bet that Ken will know more though.
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Re: A cakewalk

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:59 pm

Didn't they originate with Bach's Battenburg Concertos, and find their fullest development in the popular late Victorian tea dance?
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Re: A cakewalk

Post by marie26 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:16 pm

Didn't they originate with Bach's Battenburg Concertos
I think you mean BRACH'S. In which case, wouldn't it be a candy walk?
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Re: A cakewalk

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:32 pm

I don't think so, Marie. American dance sweets are far less common than European.
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Re: A cakewalk

Post by trolley » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:39 am

A cake walk was a game of chance that we used to play at social functions like church picnics and such. It was a fund-raiser. People donated baked goods and other people would purchase tickets to participate in a "musical chairs" sort of contest to win the goodies. The tickets were very cheap and there was a very good chance you would "win". It was a cake walk.
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