What Planet is This?

21 Aug 2005


After I'd written about John Florio's mysterious word "gigajoggie", John Cowan mentioned that it may just be "repetitive bibble-babble". We discussed the matter further, and I quickly discovered that it's really the rare English word "jiggy-joggy" in Italian orthography. There are fifty-seven results for it on Google, one of which is of Thomas Dekker's use in his 1600 play The Shoemaker's Holiday: "why, our buttocks went jiggy-joggy like a quagmire".

I looked up the word in the OED, and it has a headword for jiggy-joggy, but also says that it's a variant of jig-a-jog. The definition for jig-a-jog contains the variant "giggajoggie" by Giovanni Torriano, in his revision of Florio's original dictionary. It seems strange that they didn't use the original version, and the word is moreover like a hybrid along the lines of jig-a-joggy, so I submitted this information to the OED:

Word: jig-a-jog. Categories: New material, Interdating.

1611, J. Florio, Queen Anna's New World of Words, f.144. "Dibatticare, to thrum a wench lustily till the bed cry giggaioggie."

1611, J. Florio, Queen Anna's New World of Words, f.198. "Frittfritt, as we say cricket a wicket, or gigaioggie."

The OED contains the headwords 'jiggy-joggy' and 'jig-a-jog', the latter of which includes the 1659 variant 'giggajoggie' which I'm antedating here. But this variant is akin to jig-a-joggy, and hence a hybrid of these two headwords.

Further details: Printed London: Melch, Bradwood, for Edward Blount and William Barret. The web version that I consulted is at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/florio/

These kinds of words are called giseigo in Japanese: the imitative, often reduplicative form of onomatopoeism that can lead to whimsical or bawdy connotations. The list of English flip-flop words neatly demonstrates these tendencies. Even jig-a-jog has the secondary meaning of sexual intercourse, reminding John Cowan of the Boontling word ricky-chow. Jiggy-Joggy is also the name of an Elizabethan lute piece (MIDI file) of c.1600. By Elizabethan I of course mean the original period: we're now in the Elizatwothan era. Since the Cambridge University MS Dd.9.33, f.77/2 containing the Jiggy Joggy lute tune is from the same year or before Dekker's use of the term, it is apparently an antedating so I've submitted the following to the OED:

Word: jiggy-joggy. Categories: New material, Antedating.

c.1600 M. Holmes, "Lute Book", Cambridge University MS Dd.9.33, f.77/2. "Jiggy Joggy" (piece title).

I take my dating from Julia Craig-McFeely's 1997 doctoral thesis "English Lute Manuscripts and Scribes 1530-1630", wherein she says "This implies that Holmes was carrying the book around with him in 1600, and it may have been started slightly before that. Repertorial dating and Harwood's investigation of the origins of the sources support this date." Source: http://www.craigmcfeely.force9.co.uk/App1b.pdf

I'm considering it an antedating because the earliest plausible dating for the document is pre-1600, and moreover the song must've been an existing tradition. Some sources say that Dekker's play is from 1599, however, so that may need to be reconsidered, and the circaness of Matthew Holmes's usage may prevent it from being considered an antedating. Anyway, the OED will now "consult your submission to see if it is suitable for inclusion".

Cite: Palmer, S.B. (2005). "Jiggy-Joggy", in: What Planet is This?
Archival URI: http://inamidst.com/notes/jiggyjoggy


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