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Origins: 'Dony' / Doney

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Richie 22 Dec 02 - 08:34 AM
Charley Noble 22 Dec 02 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,MCP 22 Dec 02 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Q 22 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM
Stewie 22 Dec 02 - 09:42 PM
mack/misophist 22 Dec 02 - 09:53 PM
Art Thieme 22 Dec 02 - 10:32 PM
Stewie 23 Dec 02 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Lionel 23 Dec 02 - 03:23 AM
GLoux 03 Dec 03 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Strudelbag 03 Dec 03 - 04:17 PM
Cruiser 03 Dec 03 - 05:30 PM
Q 03 Dec 03 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,John 03 Dec 03 - 07:24 PM
Q 03 Dec 03 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 04 Dec 03 - 12:59 PM
Cruiser 04 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,John 04 Dec 03 - 09:42 PM
Brian Hoskin 05 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM
Brian Hoskin 05 Dec 03 - 10:53 AM
Q 05 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,YT1300 23 May 09 - 01:46 AM
Art Thieme 23 May 09 - 03:05 PM
Azizi 24 May 09 - 09:28 AM
Q 24 May 09 - 01:05 PM
Q 24 May 09 - 01:08 PM
Azizi 24 May 09 - 01:15 PM
Azizi 24 May 09 - 01:34 PM
Azizi 24 May 09 - 01:46 PM
Azizi 24 May 09 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 May 09 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,YT-1300 27 May 09 - 12:55 AM
Q 27 May 09 - 07:59 PM
GUEST 30 May 09 - 03:44 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 09 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Robbi 11 Nov 10 - 12:39 PM
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Subject: Origin of 'Dony'
From: Richie
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 08:34 AM

In blues and many old-time songs the word "Dony" or "Doney" is used as a slang for "girl." "My Little Dony" is a song title. When posting the lyrics to "Way Down the Old Plank Road" by Dave Macon, I noticed it was used there (thread on "My Wife Dide on Sat. Night).

What exactly does it mean?

Where did it originate?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 10:06 AM

I've also wondered about that term since I first encountered it in a recording by Ian and Sylvia:

Wind and rain, sleet and snow,
Me and me doney is bound to go...

Always assumed that "doney" was his horse, and I suppose that's still possible given the lack of other "little darling" alternatives.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 10:24 AM

Perhaps similar to dona/donah/doner as used in some of the music hall songs ("I knows a little doner" from Liza "Never introduce your donah to a pal") (from eg donna)

From Dictionay of Historical Slang:

"A woman, especially the lady of the house from 1850s, Cockney and Parlary from Italian or Spanish via Lingua Franca. Hence in Australia from 1860s a girl/sweetheart"

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM

It is in the OED, listed as slang.


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 09:42 PM

Richie

The following is a note by Stephen Calt in an article on 'The Idioms of Robert Johnson'. I photocopied the article from '78 Quarterly' magazine but, stupidly, omitted to record the edition.


'I don't want no woman, wants any downtown man she meet
She's a no-good donay, they shouldn't allow her on the street'
[I Believe I'll Dust My Broom 1936]

A black and Southern white variant of 'dona', a 19th century slang term associated with cockney and British circus slang and regarded as vulgar by Farmer & Henley, though it derives from respectful Italian, Spanish or Portuguese terms for 'lady'. (The standard English words 'dame' and 'prima donna' both derive from the same source). Although idiomatic, it is likely that the term was more common in song rhetoric than 20th century American colloquial speech. In southern white song, it occursas early as 1910, when 'Doney Gal' was collected by John Lomax. It also occurred in a slave song, 'Off From Richmond', cited by Talley in 1922:


I slips off from Mosser without pass an' warnin'
For I mus' see my Donie wherever she may stay

Although Son House defined 'donie' as 'a no-good woman', it had no pejorative implication.
[Stephen Calt 'The Idioms of Robert Johnson' in '78 Quarterly' #?]


I recall seeing a note, I think by Joe Hickerson, that the lady Lomax collected 'Doney Gal' from told him that her uncle, the original source of the song, called his mule 'His Doney Gal', his sweetheart. So in some parts at least the word had taken on a softer tone.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 09:53 PM

When I was a boy in central Texas, there were at least 3 old women in town named Donie. Two could have been nick-names but the third lived next door. That was her real name. She thought the origin was German.


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 10:32 PM

I had heard that this was a term for his horse. His horse was a "dun" color-----a sandy almost washed out brown. As in the song "The Zebra Dun".

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 12:34 AM

Art, you are right - it was his horse. I shouldn't rely on my faulty memory. At least, I got the bit right about him being her uncle. The lady was Mrs Louise Henson from Texas, but her uncle was from Oklahoma.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origin of 'Dony'
From: GUEST,Lionel
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 03:23 AM

I've heard that in US southern states that male and female donkeys/mules are called a jack and a doney. Can anyone confirm?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony'
From: GLoux
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 03:19 PM

On Great Big Yam Potatoes, a collection of Mississippi field recordings culled from 1930s Library of Congress recordings, Charles Long and Sam Neal play a fiddle tune entitled "My Little Dony." Unfortunately, the liner notes do nothing to explain "Dony", but there are some words sung:

MY LITTLE DONY

Eyes just like a cherry
Cheeks just like a rose
How I love my Dony
God in Heaven knows

Fair you well my Dony
Fair you well, I say
Fair you well my Dony
Come another day

You can ride the old grey mare
I will ride the roan
When you go a-courtin'
Let my Dony alone

Preacher in the pulpit
Bible in his hand
Said he wouldn't preach no more
'Till he got another dram

Wish I had a band box
Put my Dony in
Take her out and kiss her
Put her back again

GL


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,Strudelbag
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 04:17 PM

See the Historical dictionary of American Slang Volume 1 for a good treatment.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Cruiser
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 05:30 PM

{Quote}
"…doney (long o) or doney-gal, meaning a sweetheart. Its history is unique. British sailors of the olden time brought it to England from Spanish or Italian ports. Doney is simply dona or donna a trifle anglicized in pronunciation. Odd, though, that it should be preserved in America by none but backwoodsmen whose ancestors for two centuries never saw the tides!" {End Quote}


Yep, and cowboys think their dun (dunny or dunnie) mares are "sweethearts" as in the song 'doney-gal' (paraphrased adage: ain't but two thangs a cowboy was afeard of--a decent woman and bein' afoot) AND a cowboy's two-legged sweetheart as in the song 'I'm A-Leavin' Cheyenne':

Goodbye, my little doney, I'm a-leavin' Cheyene,..

I'm sorry, little doney, my pony won't stand.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 06:40 PM

The word easily could have come to English-speaking cowboys from their Spanish-speaking counterparts. Many Mexican cattle ended up feeding the herded Indians in the Dakotas and adding to the herds on the northern ranges. Any cowboy who spent time in the border states, territories and moving cattle from northern Mexican ranches would know 'doña'.
In other words, it could have come separately to westerners, independently from eastern sources.

"Backwoodsmen whose ancestors for two centuries never saw the tides" is nonsense. Lands beyond the piedmont received settlers in the late 1700s and by 1840 were sending their young men everywhere. Moreover, depending on when 'doney' entered British slang, the settlers could have brought the word with them. Formal usage of the word 'Doña' was in English writing in the 17th c. before immigrants to America were looking much beyond the piedmont.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,John
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:24 PM

Well, I don't believe it. Twelve hits so far and not a mention of the Irish. Never heard of the song before but sure it must have come from Ireland. DUN is the Irish word for FORT and NI (pronounced nee) is the Irish word for daughter. Sure isn't it plain to be seen that it refers to the daughter of some high rankin' officer at some Fort or other.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 03 Dec 03 - 07:54 PM

My apologies, John. Shure, and haven't I been listening to Triona Ni Dromhnaill today.
The color 'dun' (dunn) was applied before the 12th c., so it surely predates the little people.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 12:59 PM

Aw come on.
Of course doney-gal is just a reference to the beloved of all, Donegal. The original of the Lomax song recorded by Sylvia etc was "I'm alone in Donegal in the wind and hail." Who has not been?
Other more recent favourites that have been transcribed badly include The Munster Mash, and On A Clare Day You Can See Rostrevor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Cruiser
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM

Sure tis lad? I knew the "arsh" would find a way to claim this word/tune as their oon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,John
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 09:42 PM

If you can't blame the Irish, blame the Jews. They managed to mention her sixteen times in the chorus of a song about a calf that went on the wagon.( Digitrad Dona Dona)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM

Stewie,

Your article from 78 Quarterly was from volume 1 part 4, pp53 -60.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 10:53 AM

I now notice that Stewie's post with that info is about a year old, and it's about time I gave the reference to that 78 Quarterly article, because I gave the same info from it in a thread back in 1998 without giving the citation.

see here


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM

Donie, Doney may have multiple origins. In addition to the donnas etc. derived from the Latin dominus, domina, there are other possibilities for a particular occurrence of the name.

Donie is not uncommon, both as a first, and last name. It appears as a first name for both males and females. Baseball nuts know of Donie Bush who played up to the time of WW1 or later. Donie is a variant of Don, or taken from the rather common last name. The city of Donie, TX, received its name in 1898; no antecedent, just a mistake for Douie.

Doney also in not uncommon as a first and last name. One branch is traced to Cornwall, 16th century. Variants Dounay, Dony, Downie, etc.
The Doney Trail in Arizona, Doney Lake, MT and Doney Park, CA are named after people, not animals.
The name de Dunnay goes back to 13th century Scotland. Some descendents are Doneys.
Dony also appears as a first and last name.

In Spain, the picturesque old town of Doney and environs has been much photographed. Some of its people emmigrated to Mexico-New Mexico in the 17th century. Doney also is an old English name for a thicket or enclosure. Neither of these seem to have any bearing on the usage sought here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,YT1300
Date: 23 May 09 - 01:46 AM

I just found this website. I love both country blues and old time music and just adopted a dog tonight from a rescue shelter. She's a 2ish year old beautiful black lab female. The obvious name? Doney.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:05 PM

To us here in the USA who have lived with the song "Dony Gal" and the reality and the mystique of The West, Dony Gal was, and is, the puncher's horse. It refers to the color--and it is an affectionate name for the animal that he spent so very much time with.

VT13090,
Nice choice of a name!!

Also,
you said "She looks 2-ish."

Funny, she doesn't look 2-ish to me!? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Azizi
Date: 24 May 09 - 09:28 AM

Some words that are spelled the same or similarly can have different origins and meanings.

As has been previously indicated in this thread, the word "dony"/"doney" has multiple origins. "Dony"/"Doney" it can mean a female (as in the Spanish 'doña') or it can mean the color black (dun).


**

Here's an example of the word "doney" meaning woman (or darling):

Well, my little Doney Gal, don't you guess
Better be making your wedding dress
Wedding dress, wedding dress
Better be making your wedding dress

Well, it's already made, trimmed in green
Prettiest dress you've ever seen
Ever seen, ever seen
Prettiest dress you've ever seen

Well, it's already made, trimmed in red
Stitched and sewed with a golden thread
Golden thread, golden thread
Stitched and sewed with a golden thread

etc

thread.cfm?threadid=91064#1729880
Songs about Wearing Red-or another color


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:05 PM

Dun- A slightly brownish dark gray; also dusky- it does not meam black, although it may have been applied to a Black girlfriend. It is unrelated to doney.

Dony (slang), also doney, doner, donah, is a familiarization of the name Dona, Donna, from the Spanish Dona or Doòa (lady or woman); a sweetheart, a companion (such as a horse). In print UK and U. S., 19th c. (See post by Stewie above).

A doney (hoss, mule, girlfriend) may be any color.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:08 PM

? Doña


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Azizi
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:15 PM

A doney (hoss, mule, girlfriend) may be any color.

I stand corrected, Q. You certainly know more about mules than I do. :o)

**

Btw, I got the spelling "Doña" from a couple of sentences in your 03 Dec 03 - 06:40 PM post to this thread. Here's one o those sentences:

"Formal usage of the word 'was in English writing in the 17th c. before immigrants to America were looking much beyond the piedmont. "


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Azizi
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:34 PM

Let me try that again-"Formal usage of the word 'Doña' was in English writing in the 17th c. before immigrants to America were looking much beyond the piedmont."

**

Here's a dictionary entry for the word "dun":


dun (dun)
adjective
dull grayish-brown

Etymology: ME & OE, akin to OS, chestnut-brown, ult. (? via Celt) < IE *dhus-no < base *dhus, dust-colored: see fury

noun:
a dun horse
an artificial fishing fly of this color
mayfly

http://www.yourdictionary.com/dun

**

If I had read this thread more carefully, I would have learned this from Art Thieme's 22 Dec 02 - 10:32 PM post:

"I had heard that this was a term for his horse. His horse was a "dun" color-----a sandy almost washed out brown. As in the song "The Zebra Dun"."

-snip-

Instead, I admit that I erroneously relied on this comment from GUEST,YT1300:

"I love both country blues and old time music and just adopted a dog tonight from a rescue shelter. She's a 2ish year old beautiful black lab female. The obvious name? Doney."

-snip-

But now I know the meaning of the word "dun". And if "dun" had no connection to the any origin/meaning of word "dony"/"doney", that just proves the point that I was trying to make-that words that are spelled the same or similarly don't necessarily have the same etymology.

Thanks, Q for correcting my mistatement.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Azizi
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:46 PM

I'm wondering if GUEST,YT1300 confused the Irish word "dubh" which means "black" for "dun". I realize that was the word that I was thinking of when I wrote that "dun" meant the color black (in some other language)

But if that's the case, why did he (or she) think the name "Doney" was an obvious name for a dog that is the color black and that was adopted by a person who loves country blues and old time music?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Azizi
Date: 24 May 09 - 01:57 PM

One more comment-which is decidedly off topic-the phrase "Don Dada" which is found in a number of dancehall reggae songs has its origin in the Spanish title "Don" and colloquially means the man in charge-the leader-the best dj-the "big daddy" (dada) of them all.

Here's a link to the 1992 hit dancehall reggae song "Don Dada" by Super Cat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd4570rK7iU


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:40 PM

Well - this is an interesting Mudcat discussion - covering the subject from A-to-Z. Like playing "telegraph" it is fun to let these things run for awhile. Let us see what an authority might make of it. Mr. Offer (with six years of training) - could verify the Latin donna but most of us might be familiar with its usage as in bella-dona.:

Lighter, J.E., Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang Vol I, A-G, (The Only Historical Dictionary of Slang, Spanning Three Hundred Years of Slang Use in America), Random House, New York, 1994, p 628.

doney var. DONA.

dona n.[Polari donna Und. & Circus. a woman, esp. of the demimonde. Also vars.

* 1859 Hotten Slang. Dict.: Dona a woman.

1871 in Asbury Gems of Prairie 99: The oldest dones in the world.

1873 T. Frost Circus Life 277: dona (lady) is so constantly used that I have seldom heard a circus man mention a woman by any other name.

1875 in F & H III 307: A circus man almost always speaks of a circus woman, not as a woman, but a dona.

1877 in Asbury Gems of Prairie (opp. p. 144): "That was a poor stiff that done gave Lieutenant Bell…on Monday night."

1890-93 DN III 307 Dona, Donna, Donny, or Doner … (vulgar). - A woman. (From Italian).

1905 in JAF XXVIII (1915) 184: If yer don't quit a-foolin with my dony…I'll cut yer goozle in two.

f 1908 in DN III 306: Dony n. Girl, sweetheart…."My Dony don' wear no drawers," - a line from a popular negro song.

1917 DN IV 411: Doney …Sweetheart. Also doney gal.

1946 PADS (No. 5) 20: [Virginia Words]….donny: Girl friend; not common.

This thread was becoming so darkly twisted it required a "Lighter - Clarification"

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

What a "delightful world" of You-Tube scholars and Google ethnologists.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,YT-1300
Date: 27 May 09 - 12:55 AM

The black lab female 2-ish yr old dog I recently adopted is a real sweetheart. She gets along swimmingly with the older black lab I already have. Regardless of the exact specific etymolocial orgin, the basic idea is the same- a sweety. Pictures soon to follow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: Q
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:59 PM

Nothing wrong with calling your companion Doney; dog, horse, pot-bellied pig or gal. As noted above, color immaterial.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 09 - 03:44 AM

Doney Girl (2ish yr old Black lab female) is doing very well with her adopted 8 yr old Black lab brother. I grabbed the name for all the great tunes/songs about sweethearts. Both Black labs snore and hog the bed. I've had worse living situations with unruly roomates. See Uncle Dave Macon's "Ol' Plank Road" for one of many references to "doney". She doesn't mind me playing the fiddle but howls like a wounded Wookie when I ply on the tenor sax.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 02:51 AM

It's late. Doney Girl likes the fiddle now but still steals my socks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
From: GUEST,Robbi
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 12:39 PM

A new version of this has been recorded on T with the Maggies' first album.

T with the Maggies are Moya Brennan (Clannad), Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan), Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill (Skara Brae) and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill (Skara Brae, Bothy Band, Nightnoise, Relativity) (:

You can listen at http://www.twiththemaggies.com [=


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