Monday, July 13, 2009


Juke: What's going on with juke? It seems to be an etymological disaster. To juke might mean to cheat, or to fool, or to dance fast and close. A jukebox is a a coin operated machine to play records from the time of phonograph records, or, metamorphically, any device that serves up a requested item or service from a large selection. Going back in time, a juke joint is a cheap eatery, dance hall, bar. How can all of this variety come from a single origin? Is this another homograph?

We only need to search a little farther back to find the common thread. A juke house is a whore house, and juke means to have sex, possibly derived from a word meaning poke. Thus, juke is like that popular four-letter word f--k that can be used in so many contexts with so many meanings.
The one in Alexandria near Camp Claiborne was typical - nothing to it but a falling-down movie theater and two shabby juke joints.

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