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.”