1890: “Icta” in Notes and Queries

From the wonderful old language discussion forum, American Notes and Queriescomes this note on a Pacific Northwest English borrowing from Chinuk Wawa:


Icta (Vol. v, pp. 66, etc.). — Icta, or icter, is a word adapted from the Chinese [sic!] jargon, and is quite freely used in Oregon and Washington, in the sense of miscellaneous. Thus a room used for the storage of odds and ends is an icta room. The wagon which follows the threshing machine and carries and materials for repair, etc., is the icta wagon. The wagon-box of a freight wagon or “prairie schooner ,”is an icta box. The word used in this sense is certainly a very handy one. So far as I could learn, a Chinook Indian would apply it to anything of which he did not know the name. I once heard the reply to a question concerning the proprietorship of about a dozen dirty-faced tow-heads: “Them kids? Why them’s Joe Brumley’s ictas.”

     PHILADELPHIA, PA.                                                                                          J.W.R. 

“Chinook Indian” here almost certainly means any Chinuk Wawa-speaking Native person. It was a common Settler expression.

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