The origin of "jizz"

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: The origin of "jizz"
From: "Glen Ingram" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 23:09:15 +1000
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 replied:
> > 
> > Dear Glen
> > 
> > Yes, I found the origin and definition of JIZZ in the supplement of the
> > 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, was
> > 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

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