Friday, June 5, 2009

Who took the “ugh” out of “doughnut”?

June 5th is National Donut Day, so get thee to a Dunkin’ Donuts (where my husband will be) or a Krispy Kreme. But whatever happened to the “ugh” in “doughnut”?

The word itself is an Americanism. Washington Irving put “doughnut” on the linguistic map back in 1809. It was a lot easier to say and spell than its unappetizing synonym of “olykoeks” (literally, oil cakes).

We Americans have long had a thing about “u” words. “Dialogue” is now “dialog,” “honour” is “honor.” So it’s not surprising that we took the “ugh” out of “doughnut.” Besides, most of us would swap that “ugh” for “yum.”


CaptainPunk said...

Yeah, it makes sense to leave out letters in a word that we don't pronounce. It makes it a lot easier on the hand, and I think a lot of reports would be turned in on time, if we just write words the way we say them.

Ray said...

I just posted about this subject, in response to the news that Manhattan about to be invaded by Canadian donut shops- a perfect match, since there's no parking anywhere in Manhattan and there's never enough in front of Canadian donut shops, eh?

The Times (and even my own local rag far more used to having Timmy Ho's in town) continue to use the old spelling.