Posted by ESC on October 02, 2002
In Reply to: GOLDBRICK AND 'CHOWDERHEAD' posted by Bob on October 02, 2002
: Where did these slang terms originate from?
CHOWDERHEAD - "The chowder in 'chowderhead' is neither fish nor clam, nor Boston nor Manhattan. Indeed, it's simply not that kind of chowder at all. Actually, this 'chowderhead' is a variation of 'cholterhead,' which in turn was originally 'jolterhead' - a term much used in Shakespeare's time but now completely obsolete. A 'jolterhead,' as you might guess, was simply a stupid dolt, a blockhead." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).
GOLDBRICKER - "A person who shirks duties or responsibilities. The noun goldbrick was used in the mid-nineteenth century United States for a fraud or swindle, derived from the practice of enterprising con men who sold a brick of 'gold' - actually lead or stone that was painted gold - to unsuspecting customers. During World War I soldiers began to use the word for any of their number who loafed instead of working and consequently were worthless as such a brick. It also was used as a verb - to goldbrick, meaning to shirk - and this usage has remained entrenched in colloquial American speech." From "Fighting Words: From War, Rebellion, and other Combative Capers" by Christine Ammer (NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, Ill., 1989, 1999).