The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54922 Message #1065102
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
03-Dec-03 - 06:40 PM
Thread Name: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Dony' / Doney
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.