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Re: Pogey

Posted by R. Berg on January 21, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Pogey Bait posted by James Briggs on January 21, 2002

: : : I worked several years with a former US Marine, who, in addition to being "all MC" was a great storyteller. Many of the stories were related to basic training. Recruits would sometimes receive packages from home containing cookies, sweets or other "contraband". These treats were called "Pogey Bait". I'm curious if anyone else has any input on origin, and also, whether the UK has a similar phrase?

: :
: : Robert L. Chapman, in _Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition_ , writes that "pogey" comes "perhaps fr[om] the common name of the trash fish menhaden, as suggesting something cheap, common, and to be caught with bait; perhaps fr[om] the Southern pronunciation of _porgy_, another fish of a similar quality" and "pogey bait" is "so called because they could be used in the seduction of boys and young men, _pogue_, into homosexual acts."

: Here's what Langenscheidt's Dictionary of American Slang says:

:
: pogey; pogie; pogy; n. 1. Any home provided by charity or government funds for the aged, disabled, etc. ; a poorhouse; a government home for disabled veterans; an old-age home; a workhouse. 1891: "Tramps' use." J. Flynt. More recently, confused with and used for "pokey" = a jail. > 2. A jail.

: pogey bait; pogie bait; pogy bait; poggie bait; Candy; any kind of sweets. W. I and W.W.II use, primarily by members of Armed Forces.

: poggie n. An Army recruit

: Interestingly, 'Pogy' in 1811 was slang for 'drunk'

It prevailed until perhaps 1890 in the U.K. but survived longer in the U.S., according to Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English": "pogy" with a hard "g," meaning tipsy. He doesn't say how much longer.