LINGUIST List 16.2853|
Tue Oct 04 2005
Sum: Origin of Pot 'Cannabis'
Editor for this issue: Amy Renaud
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
Origin of Pot 'Cannabis'
Message 1: Origin of Pot 'Cannabis'
From: Max Wheeler <m.w.wheelersussex.ac.uk>
Subject: Origin of Pot 'Cannabis'
Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-2785.html#1
I asked the following:
''The Oxford English Dictionary s.v. POT n.5 says 'prob. f. Mexican
Sp._potiguaya_ marijuana leaves'. Many English language websites tell the
same story, some giving the supposed variant Spanish forms _potaguaya_ or
_potacion de guaya_.
''I have so far found no evidence that _potiguaya_, _potaguaya_ or
_potacion de guaya_ are in fact used in Spanish. I would be interested to
know of any evidence that any of these expressions is used in any variety
of Spanish. If any of them is used, I would also like to know the meaning.''
None of the replies has confirmed the use of any of these three variant
expressions in Spanish. Philip Durkin explains the source of the OED's
David W. Maurer 'Argot of the Underworld Narcotic Addict' American Speech
11 (1936) 116-27: ''potiguaya, Marajuana (sic) leaves after the pods have
been removed; crude marajuana''.
Among the alternative ideas, Scott DeLancey suggests that ''_pot_ is
metonymic extension of _tea_, which is a widespread term for cannabis (in
the form of dried leaves)''. David Drewelow suggests other possible
metonymies from e.g. a pipe with a 'pot bowl', or marijuana as a 'potted
plant', or 'drug pots' for holding or drying drugs, and draws to my notice
that Nahuatl _poctli_ means 'smoke'.
So far, though, no documentary or circumstantial evidence points to a
choice between these various possibilities, or towards any of these in
preference to other conceivable or actual suggestions.
The mystery remains.
Many thanks to those mentioned above and to Damien Hall, Lee Hartman and
Linguistic Field(s): Lexicography
Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue
Please report any bad links or misclassified data
LINGUIST Homepage | Read
LINGUIST | Contact us
While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.