1882: The cultus family

cultus family car

A “Cultus” family car; 2nd word from top right is “Cultus” (image credit: Youtube)

One of the earliest occurrences I’m aware of for this Chinuk Wawa loan into regional English.

Cultus” (kʰə́ltəs) was understood by this Vancouver, Washington newspaper’s readers as “no-good”, as in “ne’er-do-well”:

cultus family

The cultus family living next door to the old post-office building removed to Portland on Tuesday, the sheriff and several writs to the contrary notwithstanding. But few mourn their departure.

— from the Vancouver (Washington Territory) Independent of November 2, 1882, page 5, column 1

“Cultus” thus joined the ranks of other Pacific Northwest English slang terms from Jargon: klooch(man), tyee, potlatch, Siwash, Boston, etc. etc.

What do you think?