Urban legend? Wishful thinking? or “true, like in the news”…

(Via the Minneapollis Star Tribune)

Off the hook: “LACE AND RED LIGHTS
Ever wonder how the term ‘hooker’ originated as a synonym for prostitute? It seems that during the 1800s, a lace manufacturer admitted that he expected his workers to turn a few tricks on the side to make up for his not paying them a living wage.

Soon lace, including crocheted lace, began to be seen as morally tainted — made by prostitutes. And that’s likely how the word ‘hooker’ came to have such wayward connotations.

Source: ‘Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker'”

Note–according to Etymology Online: “hooker
“prostitute,” often traced to the disreputable morals of the Army of the Potomac (American Civil War) under the tenure of Gen. “Fighting Joe” Hooker (1863), and the word probably was popularized by this association at that time. But it is said to have been in use in North Carolina c.1845 (“If he comes by way of Norfolk he will find any number of pretty Hookers in the Brick row not far from French’s hotel.”). One theory traces it to Corlear’s Hook, a disreputable section of New York City. Perhaps related to hooker “thief, pickpocket” (1567), but most likely an allusion to prostitutes hooking or snaring clients. Hook in the figurative sense of “that by which anyone is attracted or caught” is recorded from 1430; and hook (v.) in the figurative sense of “catch hold of and draw in” is attested from 1577; in reference to “fishing” for a husband or a wife, it was in common use from c.1800. All of which makes the modern sense seem a natural step. The family name Hooker (attested from c.975 C.E.) would mean “maker of hooks,” or else refer to an agricultural laborer who used a hook (cf. O.E. weodhoc “weed-hook”). “

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The first "Hookers" were really hookers?"

3 thoughts on “The first "Hookers" were really hookers?"

  • April 29, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    Interesting – although in other works on urban history/industrial development, I’ve seen talk of “hooker” coming from certain “Hooks” where the sailors would frequent brothels.

    I think there are several possible thoughts on that one . . .

  • April 30, 2006 at 4:32 am

    Too funny!

  • May 1, 2006 at 4:39 am

    What a great post! So interesting (and funny). Both make sense 🙂

    I love that you took the time to research this!

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