Many thanks Eric. It is still all so puzzling. Why does the track lead to
Ireland? As well, GISS is WW2. As the OED shows, the word "jizz" was in use
some time earlier.
Also, I am unsure if jizz does involve using size so definitely. Watching
birders in action (or even experienced taxonomists sorting frogs, slaters,
crabs or amphipods), they, nearly instantly, seem to be doing something
even more basic, like recognizing essence maybe. Anyhow, the behaviour is
known and analyzed in psychology and anthropology under Gestalt.
Also, jizz is tackled in that brilliant thesis: "Implicit technique in
taxonomy: The scincid lizards of Cape York Peninsula." The person's name
escapes me at the moment.
Read you next Friday.
"How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a cab?"
> From: Eric Dempsey <>
> To: ; Glen Ingram <>
> Subject: Re: The origin of "jizz"
> Date: Monday, 18 August 1997 20:17
> Hi all
> As I have been told that I may be the only Irish subscriber to Birding
> I felt somewhat obliged to give my views. Jizz is a not a widely used
> phrase here in Ireland, and from my knowledge of Irish (Gaielge), the
> language of the west of Ireland, the word 'jizz' has no Irish origins.
> Most birders here believe that the term comes from 'General Impression
> Size'....which somehow became jizz. This is actually a very good
> description of what jizz is and is the most likely origins in my opinion.
> Whatever the case, from my knowledge of Gaielge, it has no Irish language
> Eric Dempsey
> Dear Birdingaussers,
> For your infomation.
> Glen J. Ingram
> Brisbane, Australia.
> "The hour is always darkest before you stand on the cat".
> > From: Peter Lor -ext- <> > To: Glen
> Ingram <>
> > Subject: Re: Oxford Dictionary Supplement > Date: Friday, 13 June
> 1997 0:49
> > Dear Glen
> > I hope you are continuing to recover from your op, of which I picked
> > up several echoes as I was working my way through the accumulated
> > messages on SABIRDNET. Apologies for the delay. Have been doing a lot
> > of travelling - not for birding, unfortunately.
> > I found the following in the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.
> > 1989), vol VIII, p. 246:
> > "jizz ... [Etym. unknown.] The characteristic impression given by an
> > animal or plant..."
> > So there is no authoritative etymological explanation. Then there is
> > a note on the word "guise" which is "coincident in sense but the
> > phonetic relationship remains unexplained and the two words may
> > therefore be unrelated". Which, translated into English means, I
> > suppose, that "guise" might be related to "jizz" but this is unlikely
> > because the migration from a hard "g" to a soft "j" is not explicable
> > in terms of phonetic mechanisms - somewhat reminiscnet of my
> > earlier comment on the hypothetical relationship between "jizz" and
> > "Gestalt".
> > Then come the quotes. The earliest dates from 1922 and is from p. 141
> > of "Bird haunts and nature memories" by T A Coward:
> > "A West Coast Irishman was familiar with the wild creatures which
> > dwelt on or visited his rocks and shores; at a glance he could name
> > them, usually correctly, but if asked how he knew them would reply
> > 'By their "jizz"'. What is jizz? ... we have not coined it, but how
> > wide its use is in Ireland we cannot say... Jizz may be applied to
> > or possessed by" any animate and some inanimate objects, yet we
> > cannot clearly define it. A single character may supply it, or it may
> > be the combination of many." The word is used again on p. 143 of the
> > same book. There are three later quotes, one of which refers
> > back to Coward.
> > Remember that the quotation does not imply that Coward necessarily
> > invented the term "jizz". His use of it is merely the first case
> > recorded by the OED's army of contributors.
> > But perhaps it does give us some leads: 1922 (shortly after WW1);
> > West coast of Ireland (could the word be derived from an
> > Irish/Gaelic/Erse(??) word?)
> > I did not post this on SABIRDNET but if you think the others
> > might be interested, you might send this query out into the birding
> > community again. Perhaps there is someone out there who speaks
> > whatever language it is the native West coast Irish speak...
> > Regards
> > Peter
> > ----------------------------------
> > > From: (Glen Ingram)
> > > To: <>
> > > Subject: Oxford Dictionary Supplement
> > > Date sent: Tue, 27 May 1997 02:10:08 +1000
> > > Dear Peter,
> > > It looks like you are a librarian. Do you access to the full set of
> > > Oxfords? I emailed Normand back about the Irish connection, he
> > >
> > > Dear Glen
> > >
> > > Yes, I found the origin and definition of JIZZ in the supplement of
> > > multi-volume set of the OED. In a public library (I do not own the
> > >
> > > I do not remember the name of that Irish naturalist (I think it is
> > > mentioned by the OED supplement).
> > >
> > > I had to study the case in order to translate in French Harrison's
> > > Seabirds, an Identification Guide. The foreword, by R. T. Peterson,
> > > using the word jizz (with what is in my opinion an incorrect
> explanation of
> > > its origin and definition).
> > >
> > > Sincerely
> > >
> > > Normand David
> > >
> > > Normand David
> > > Association quibicoise des groupes d'ornithologues
> > > 4545 Pierre-de-Coubertin
> > > C. P. 1000, Succ. M.,
> > > Montrial, Qc
> > > H1V 3R2