Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Puck & Buck

During the recent Ocracoke performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" I was reminded of a speculation that the island term "puck" may come from Shakespeare.

"Buck" is a common island word meaning pal or friend, and is used as a form of greeting, typically between men, as in the expression, "Hey Buck, how's it going?" (Buck is undoubtedly of ancient origin, from the word"bucca" (male goat) and "buc" (male deer), that in 18th century England came to mean "dashing fellow.")

"Puck" is used locally as a diminutive of Buck, and is generally used to address women, and children, or by women to address men...and sometimes implies a degree of impishness. In Shakespeare Puck is a jovial, but pranksterish wanderer of the night. I think it's a good guess that the early British settlers on Ocracoke brought with them both terms, Buck & Puck.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter celebrates colorful islander Don Wood (1936-1998). You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042610.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Philip don't be such a rude mechanical!!!! I love the term rude mechanical and never would have learned it had I not attended a high school production of Mid Summer's night Dream. LOVE LOVE LOVE HS production's of Mid summers night dream!!!! The first rude mechanical s I met were so casted so perfectly