sockdolager

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ewie

Senior Member
English English
I stumbled (literally) across this word in a short story by Ray Bradbury ~ The Murderer, 1953.

This is an imaginary phone-call from someone who phones to report his every single movement, in this instance from a golf course:

Hey, Al, thought I'd call you from the locker room out here at Green Hills. Just made a sockdolager hole in one! A hole in one, Al! (etc.)

My very first thought was 'typo', followed immediately by "Yeah, but typo of what?" So I looked it up in Cassell Dictionary of Slang

sockdolager / slockdologer / socdollager / sockdologer / sogdologer / stockdolager n. [orig.US] ... 2 [mid-19C+] anything exceptional [SOCK v.¹ + ? Irish dallacher, the act of blinding or dazing, or UK dial. dallack, to dress gaudily. The adj. form sockdolagizing was among the last words that President Abraham Lincoln heard: it is used in the play Our American Cousin in a line that was spoken by the cousin himself (Asa Trenchard) at the very moment when Lincoln's assassin fired the fatal shot]
Long intro, short question.
Does this word still have any kind of life in US English? Have you ever seen it before?

The only other mention of it on the forum is here ~ where it rather passed by without comment. I reckoned it deserved a thread of its own:)
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Any idea what the book was, Mr.T?
    I seem to remember that the word was John Wilkes Booth's cue for pulling the trigger on Abraham Lincoln, because it got a lot of laughs and they might hide the noise of the shot. I must have been reading a book about the assassination.
     
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    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    While the word hasn't been intentionally assassinated, it may as well have been. It's long dead and gone in AE.

    "A mile in heavily swirling water took us to the head of Sockdolager. Sockdolager, meaning a knockout punch, was named by Major Powell." P163

    Rough-water man: Elwyn Blake's Colorado River expeditions, Westwood, Dick.
    1992 University of Nevada Press
     
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    pickarooney

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I propose a campaign to bring it back. Does anyone know if the 'g' is hard or soft?
    Also, the etymology seems to suggest that it's quite normal to just prepend 'sock' to a word. Are there any other examples of sock+ ?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I propose a campaign to bring it back. Does anyone know if the 'g' is hard or soft?
    Also, the etymology seems to suggest that it's quite normal to just prepend 'sock' to a word. Are there any other examples of sock+ ?
    The only other one that comes to mind is a fish: sockeye.
     
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