hawk a loogie / hock a loogie

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hawk a loogie / hock a loogie

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:31 pm

Another from my infamous pile (no, not hemorrhoid), but still unappetizing:
<2011 “Tester [[U.S. senator from Montana]] openly referred to one liberal as a ‘wahoo’ and called another one ‘numbnuts.’. . . Tester uses the word ‘cool’ as often as a tween, and I lost count of all the loogies he hocked.”—Newsweek, 9 May, page 50>
Whoa! HOCK LOOGIES sounds ominous. Not being able to find the expression in my search, I started to look at the components hock and loogie. But first, through the magic of our Wordwizard search engine, I found both used in Erik Kowal’s subtly worded encomium of one of his great heroes, George W. Bush.
<2008 “The feature I thought they could all have benefited from would have been a 360-degree spitting gallery designed to encourage visitors to hawk their loogies at a graven effigy of the 43rd President genuflecting before a neon-lit altar formed as a flashing red dollar sign and sponsored by Halliburton and the Heritage Foundation.”—Wordwizard posting by E. Kowal>
Now, which is it, hawk or hock. As far as the two-word expression goes, it appears that both are O.K. But as far as which was the original, it’s hawk with hock probably being a mispronunciation variant or as we call this type of thing nowadays, an ‘eggcorn.’


HAWK (also hauk, . . .) transitive and intransitive verb: To make an effort to clear the throat of phlegm; to clear the throat noisily.

Etyomolgy: Of uncertain origin; probably echoic.
<1581 “For hauking up of blood.”—Positions . . . by R. Mulcaster, xx. Page 83>

<circa 1516 “Shall we clap into't roundly, without hauking or spitting or saying we are hoarse, which are the only prologues to a bad voice?”—As You Like It by Shakespeare, v. iii, line 19>

<1676 “A stinking tough flegm which she frequently hauked out, especially in the mornings.”—Severall Chirurgical Treatises by R. Wiseman, vii. iv. page 42>


HOCK (also HOCKER) noun [1960s and still in use] (US teen): A gob of phlegm or spit [Standard English hawk, to clear one’s throat of phlegm]

The second half of the expression is much less ancient and was probably born in the following progression:


LUNGER noun (US) 1) [late 19th century and still in use] One who is suffering from lung disease (i.e. tuberculosis) or has been wounded in the lungs. 2) [1940s and still in use] A mouth full of spit or a gob of phlegm.

LOOEY/LIEUY/LOOIE/LOUIE [1970s and still in use (US: 1) A lump of expectorated phlegm. Cf. loogie) 2) A piece of nasal mucus. [echoic]

LOOGIE noun [1980s and still in use]: (U.S.): A gob of phlegm. [variation on looey.]

The following quotes are from archived sources:
<1996 “. . . but if anyone is going to make you enjoy scuba diving, it’s the staff . . . Breezy, friendly jocks with perfect physiques who somehow manage to sound congenial when they suggest you ‘hawk a loogie into your mask.”—New York Magazine, 18 November, page 75>

<1999 “The movie theater is the only place besides an airplane where I will sit that close to strangers and I’m happiest if the guy behind me doesn’t cough, sneeze, hock a loogie, . . .”—Indianapolis Monthly (Indiana), October, page 16>

<2004 “. . .if I was you, I wouldn’t order dessert, ‘cause you can bet the waiter’s gonna hawk a loogie in your raspberry sauce.”—We Need to Talk About Keven by L. Shriver, page 279>

<2006 “Well, it was a crowded country—you could just turn aside and hock a louie without hitting someone.”—Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China by P. Theroux, chapter 17>

<2011 “Spit, expectorate, hawk a loogie or huck a lungie, gob one out — the list for ways to describe the act of expelling liquids (usually phlegm) from the mouth is potentially limited only by the capacity of human youth to create a new variation.”—Uptown Magazine (Winnipeg, Manitoba), 15 December>

Ken G – January 18, 2012

Re: hawk a loogie / hock a loogie

Post by trolley » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:06 pm

We also "horked" and "hacked" loogies.
"Etyomolgy: Of uncertain origin; probably echoic."
...it's hard to imagine the "etyomolgy"(?) being anything but echoic.

Re: hawk a loogie / hock a loogie

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:16 am

Sound reasoning.

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