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Jamboree -- jam + shivaree?

Posted by Bob on October 25, 2003

In Reply to: Jamboree -- jam + shivaree? posted by ESC on October 25, 2003

: : : : I notice that the word "Jamboree" shows up in dictionary lists as having unknown origin. I'd like to venture a guess... and see what anyone thinks:

: : : : The origin must have originated with Robert Baden-Powell, who was the founder of the Boy Scouts. Baden-Powell lived in Kenya, East Africa. I recall hearing stories of how he admired the "native" Africans, and some of the Boy Scout traditions originated from African tribes.

: : : : Any way... the Swahili word for "hello" is "jambo". A "jamboree" is certainly a gathering of people all saying "hello" or "jambo" to each other.

: : : : Has anyone heard this before?

: : : It sounds reasonable. Has anyone read a biography of Baden-Powell? There might be substantiation there.

: : Looks like the word may be older than Scouting.
: : Merriam Webster online says the word dates back to 1864. An online quotes Baden-Powell about early days: "Somewhere about 1893 I started teaching Scouting to young soldiers in my regiment."

: JAMBOREE - "1868, American English, a noisy party or spree, perhaps coined from jam (press tightly), on the pattern of shivaree (from Old French 'chalivali,' discordant noise made by pans, pots, etc.)." From "The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995).

Good work. The connection between jamboree and shiraree seems a bit tenuous, though.