Boogie and Boogaloo

If anyone is in any doubt about Cassidy’s lack of common sense, I suggest they go no further than these words.

Nobody is sure of their origin, though a boogie seems to have originally been a house party thrown by people in poor black neighbourhoods to raise enough money for the rent. It was in use in this sense by 1917. The musical and other meanings seem to come later.

Cassidy traces these words to the Irish bogadh and bogadh luath. Bogadh is defined by Ó Dónaill as ‘softening, becoming soft, moving, loosening’. I personally don’t think that these are a great match for the known meanings of boogie and the sound certainly isn’t close. Why wouldn’t it be bogga or boggoo rather than boogie if the word genuinely came from Irish? Luath generally means early in Irish (though it can mean fast), so bogadh luath would actually make me think of someone moving house early in the morning rather than strutting their funky stuff.

As usual, it’s just a wild and uninformed guess by a crazy simpleton.


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