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Gee Gee

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 11:39 pm
by Bobinwales
We went for day out in the Welsh countryside today and the conversation, as often happens, got a bit silly.
"Oh look! Moo cows". "There are baa lambs over there", and what have you. I, being what I am started to think, why, when we have moo cows, baa lambs, bow wows and what have you, do we have "Gee gees"? Do we call horses "Gee gees" because we tell them to "Gee up"? Or do we tell them to "Gee up" because we call them gee gees. Will my puzzled mind ever become settles ever again? Who knows?

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:24 am
by Phil White
The answer to your question is that I don't have the foggiest, but, since I have had Sheba, I have always called them gee gees. The family living in the old rectory opposite my house used to keep gee gees in the yard and Sheba used to spend hours standing at my desk watching them. And we often come across them on the beach, so sometimes I will slip her on the lead and take her up to meet the gee gees to familiarize her with them and discourage her from chasing them and barking at them.

It was embarrassing a while ago when I was out walking with the blind walking group (Sheba spends the day with a dog walker when I am out with the blind walkers). We came across a field of horses:
Me: "What is it? Gee gees?"
My guide: "What did you just call them?"
Me: "Ah, yes, well ... That's what my dog, Sheba calls them ..."

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 1:19 pm
by Erik_Kowal
Phil White wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 10:24 am
My guide: "What did you just call them?"
Me: "Ah, yes, well ... That's what my dog, Sheba calls them ..."
I wonder whether the guide also asked what Sheba calls cows and lambs.
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This question came up once before on Wordwizard (see viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3249). Of the theories presented there, the gee/haw one strikes me as being the most plausible.

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 1:42 pm
by Phil White
The Chester Racecourse and Henry Gee etymology is widely touted. It is plausible enough, but it would need near-contemporary references to back it up.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horse ... times.html

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 9:54 pm
by Bobinwales
Many thanks.

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 3:35 pm
by BonnieL
Having been around way too many toddlers in my life, I'm familiar with bow wow, moo cow & the like, but I've never heard gee gee. Horses are just horsies.

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 8:23 pm
by tony h
The OED doesn't admit to the Henry Gee origin and places the first usage considerably later than 1539 being, in record, 1869.


Gee from OED,
A word of command to a horse, variously (in different localities) used to direct it to turn to the right, to go forward, or to move faster.
1628 J. Earle Micro-cosmogr. xxx. sig. F4 He expostulates with his Oxen very vnderstandingly, and speakes Gee and Ree better then English.
a1641 T. Heywood & W. Rowley Fortune by Land & Sea ii, in Wks. (1874) VI. 384 Come Ile go teach ye..gee and whoe.
1734 H. Fielding Don Quixote in Eng. ii. xii. 36 Gee, Gee, Boys, Hup!
1806 R. Bloomfield Abner in Wild Flowers 1 Gee, Bayard! move your poor old bones


Oddly it brings to mind that Gee-gee, in my childhood home, was not used to mean a work horse (driving, carriage, ploughing) but specifically to fast riding horses - race horses, hunters and the like.

Re: Gee Gee

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 10:14 pm
by Phil White
tony h wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 8:23 pm
Oddly it brings to mind that Gee-gee, in my childhood home, was not used to mean a work horse (driving, carriage, ploughing) but specifically to fast riding horses - race horses, hunters and the like.
Around this very small locality, a "gee-gee" is anything big, with four legs, that goes "clip-clop" and needs to be barked at.