Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Des Moines

The origins of the name of the Iowa city Des Moines has an amusing set of origins. The city, of course, was once named Fort Des Moines because of being on the Des Moines River. That place name was in turn based on a Native American term. When Pere Marquette and Louis Joliet explored the upper part of the Mississippi, a tribal leader of the Peorias told them that the tribe living in that area (their rivals) was named the Moingoana, which became the root of Des Moines.

But it turns out that Moingoana was really the Peoria word for "shitfaces," according to cunning linguists Michael McCafferty and David Costa. Perhaps the Peoria tribal leader was pulling Marquette and Joilet's Gallic jambes; or he was taking a gratuitous shot at a rival tribe.

Possibly this suggests a more ancient origin to the concept “shit-faced drunk,” although the earliest documented usage of that expression dates from the 1950s.  It would be helpful if we had some insight into that tribe's penchant for alcohol.  Or Des Moines citizens'.

8 comments:

Bilbo said...

We can always count on you to give us the straight poop, Angel. So to speak. Merry Christmas!

Duckbutt said...

cunning linguists? Slipped in a goodie there, Angel?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

The Des Moines people might have a good laugh, or not.

Mike said...

Seems the Des Moinesians refuse to comment.

Duckbutt said...

A great laugh!

Anemone said...

There's little else to do in darkest Iowa besides getting shit-faced drunk!

John Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Hill said...

I also thought that I'd never heard "cunning linguist" in that context.
Merry Christmas, Angel.