Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Trivia: Sourpuss

There are a ton of dictionaries that will tell you the first known use of the word "sourpuss" was between 1935-1940. Several even go so far as to pinpoint 1937 as the beginning date.

But not even the illustrious Etymology Dictionary or the venerable old Oxford English Dictionary would expound upon where in 1937 the word was first used.

So we started hunting. And had to laugh when we found our 1937 source, thanks to a blogger in the UK who has a passion for the golden age of cartoons!

Feast your eyes on this Warner Brothers’ cartoon, entitled Porky’s Railroad - first released August 7, 1937.

Take note of what Porky says at the 3:18 timestamp:

Yep, we never would have predicted Porky Pig would be our elusive source! And we did get a chuckle out of the fact that the first sour puss on the silver screen was a cow.

From our studies, the slang word for mouth - puss, buss, pouze, and other variations  - can be found in several languages over the past two centuries. So we're sure that the word was in common use prior to this. But based on all our digging, it does indeed seem that the first use "in print" (screen print, that is) was by Warner Brothers!

And th-th-th-th-that's all folks!

Mostly Merry Blogspot
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Etymology Online
My Etymology


  1. OMC! That's some awesome trivia sleuthing, pals. The Dad says he's seen that cartoon before (in reruns, of course). :)

  2. i never would have guessed it was such a young phrase..

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  4. We thought it was well older than that. What a blast from the past. Have a tremendous Thursday.

    Best wishes Molly

  5. Do you mean to tell me that Waffles has been calling me a COW all this time???
    ; ) Katie

  6. P.S. Those are some pretty fancy badges you've got there in your sidebar!

    *clears throat* Faraday? Maxwell? I'm pretty sure that award your mother won was for a photo of ALLIE. Girlz Roolz. Just sayin'.

  7. Now I use to watch the younger version of Porky Pig, Just saying bawahahahwhaha xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  8. Neat! We had thought "puss" just meant "face". Good to know.

  9. I love Porky pig he is so cute, the pepper bit was fab! I do so love popping by your blog and learning stuff!

  10. One of your more unusual word presentations. It was fun to see how Porky has changed through the years. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo


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