Lexicon Valley: Where Did the Word Dude Come From?

A show about the mysteries of English.
Jan. 28 2014 11:32 AM

Where Did the Word Dude Come From?

Listen to Slate's show about the early history of dudery, starring swells and fops and with a cameo by Mark Twain.

Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 36: The Dude Abides

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word dude is a made-up slang term whose origin is "not recorded." But a number of etymology sleuths, on the trail of dude for more than a decade, have recently pieced together a convincing theory of how the word may have been coined and where it was popularized. Bob Garfield and I discuss the fascinating early history of dudery, including Mark Twain's literary use of the word in his 1889 satire A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

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You'll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:

Send your thoughts about the show to slatelexiconvalley@gmail.com.

Mike Vuolo is a radio and podcast producer and the host of Lexicon Valley.

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