Hooker huckster

Mark Hanna: For years I've heard that the term "hooker" used for prostitute came from the Civil War, a shortened term for "Hooker's Girls" for prostitutes or groupies that followed General Joseph Hooker's army. Hooker's Headquarters was even the name for their encampment. Recently I was told that the term came from a section of New York City where prostitutes were common. I haven't had any luck researching this. Need help.

Terry O'Connor: The term was around before General Hooker, so it wasn't him or his camp-followers. In fact the origin is uncertain. It may possibly have come from the New York suburb (?) of Corlear's Hook, a red light district, but it is more likely to be linked to "huckster" from the Dutch slang term meaning "one who entices". US visitors to Australia are often entertained by the real estate chain known as LJ Hooker...

Priscilla: According to Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang the word "hooker" "1859 - A resident of Hook, ie, a strumpet, a sailors's trull. So called from the numer of houses of ill-fame frequented by sailors at the Hook (ie. Corlear's Hook) a city of New York." Hope this helped.

Brian: The origin is quite interesting, in fact. When New Orleans was first blossoming as a city, there was an area of town where prostitutes would literally stick a hook out of a window, grabbing a gentleman passersby's hat. The gentleman would, of course, now have the perfect excuse to enter the property, i.e., to retrieve his hat. Upon entering, the prostitutes would attempt to seduce the potential client. This was not usually difficult since most men were quite willing. That is why they walked past those windows with their hats on to begin with. Over time, the woman began "hooking" from second and third stories, using hooks at the end of long poles. Willing men would pass by, hoping to be "hooked" and given the perfect excuse to enter.

Terry O'Connor: Sounds plausible, Brian. But have you any evidence for this?


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