Referring to a Smoothbore as a Smoothie

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Yup no sense of humor in the old days
 

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Notchy Bob

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That habit of adding an "-ie" or "-y" to a noun is called "diminutivization." I understand the Dutch even do it to verbs. Anyway, it implies familiarity with the subject (as in calling your wife "wifey"... Which I would never do) but it can sometimes also be used sarcastically, or for belittling a person. I think it has always been used with proper names, like "John" becomes "Johnny," or a French man might be nicknamed "Frenchy," but I don't know when the widespread application to more common nouns got started. I kind of think it may be a 20th century phenomenon. If you really want to see it over-used, visit a knife forum. Slip-joint folding knives are "slippies," knives inspired by the one carried by Horace Kephart are "Keppies," and knives of the style carried by George "Nessmuk" Sears are "Nessies."

I do a lot of reading in the literature of the 19th century frontier, and I don't recall ever seeing the term, "smoothie" in reference to a smooth bored gun. I think brother @Daryl Crawford is right, in that they typically would have said musket, fusee, fowling piece, or just "gun." Rifles were called rifles, and I think it was understood that "guns" were smoothbored. They hyphenated a lot more than we do now, also... Smooth-bore, powder-horn, shot-pouch, etc.

Other terms I have never seen in the old-time literature are "hawk" (for tomahawk), "rondy" or "voo" for rendezvous, or "flinter" for flintlock. The writers of the time spelled these words out. A "cant" or "argot" is a lexicon used by a special interest group, and words like these are prime examples. Sometimes the form of one's speech is a type of elitism... If you can't talk the talk, you don't belong. Remember "Valley Girls"? Jokesters used to have a lot of fun with the way they spoke. I worked in hospitals for close to thirty years, and found the medical community has a very broad and colorful language of its own. You could probably say the same thing for almost any profession.

Mountain men of the Rocky Mountain fur trade did in fact develop an argot of their own. Ruxton was fascinated by their speech, and did his best to commit it to paper. I believe the real mountain men were very much an elitist group, and they used their own peculiar words and expressions intentionally to set themselves apart from emigrants and greenhorns. However, the language they spoke back then, based on written documentation, was very different from the the "buckskinner" speech you hear tossed around today.

In my own opinion, words are artifacts, just as rifles and moccasins and scalping knives are artifacts. Serious reenactors try very hard to get their clothing and equipment "correct" for the place and time that interests them, and it would seem reasonable that they would try to recover and use the dialect and lexicon of the period, also. However, we might as well face the fact that we are 21st century people pursuing this hobby for recreational purposes. I think it is likely that a great many modern rendezvous devotees are probably happier with their modern-day mountain man fantasy dialect, as it helps provide a sense of belonging in real time. As long as they are not misleading folks they are trying to educate with regard to 19th century life, I don't see a thing wrong with that.

Anyway, getting back to Gunny's original question (which was a good one), I can't say for sure when "smoothie" entered our vocabulary, but based on the reading I have done, I don't think it was any time in the 18th or 19th centuries.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
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FishDFly

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The language/terms here has changed a lot here since 2004.

Wonder if folks looking for a "smoothie" in the Dixie catalog find it in the index?
 

Loyalist Dave

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I see this term from time to time in reference to no particular smoothbore weapon and was wondering, when did it start, was it common terminology back in the day, or is it just a nickname?

Getting Back to the original question...,

Gunny, it's a modern term. I sometimes write, "flinter" when I'm talking about something that's a flintlock, OR about the folks using something that has a flintlock firing system. "I love hunting with my flinter", or "When it comes to us flinters, ...." I'm not sure "flinter" is actually a proper word...

It's very similar situation to this, which I'm sure you understand without the brackets, but some of the forum members are not former military...

"Keep your booger-hook [finger] off of the bang-switch [trigger] until ready to fire."

Further,

Some folks call pit-bulls "pitties" or "bullies" in some cases...,

A lot of us folks who do AWI aka Rev War redcoats call the Continental reenactors, "Doodles" 😂 as in "Yankee Doodle"...

LD
 

AtlatlMan

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Honestly this forum is the only place I have ever observed someone using the term 'smoothie' for a smoothbore. No one says that in real life.
 
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He probably said " that thar gun " if he wanted to look at a smoothbore , , if he wanted to look at a rifle he probably said "that thar rifle gun " and he would have asked "how many balls to the pound does it run to ? "
He might have said, "May I inquire about that firelock you so boldly display for purchase?"
 

gunnyr

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Well people , after 52 entries does it really matter what people call the things we all enjoy
playing with. Two years from now they will probably be called something else , people
have a tendency to redefine the English language every generation or so. I must admit that
I am at times confused at the name of things being called. Some I smile about and others
I scratch my head. And yes I have been guilty of using some of trendy names for items.
But in the end, we all enjoy the sport , no matter what the weapon is called, smoothy ,
musket, rifle. This is my take on the subject, hope I didn't step on anyone's toes.

Richard
 

minish

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My neighbor referred to my guns as “ Musket Loaders”. I barely contained my laughter as I politely corrected the terminology for him.
It’s amusing, actually.
“Musket Loaders”. That’s a good one! I’ll have to start using that one. Most people I talk to wouldn’t know the difference!
 
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Language is in a continuous state of evolution. There was a time when referring to someone as “silly” was a high compliment. And there are words that have esoteric meaning. If you apply for a job in a planing mill and refer to molder or shaper knives as “bits” or “blades” you probably won’t be hired. Wrong choice of words can have fatal consequences. Remember the Germans who infiltrated the American lines during the Battle of the Bulge. They spoke perfect English, but made the mistake of asking an American sergeant where to find petrol. Our club, the Dallas Muzzleloading Gun Club, has a Smoothbore Frolic each October. If they called it a Smoothies Frolic I think it would fine with everyone and be just as well attended. The important thing is to realize that we may be a vanishing group. Anything we can do to welcome new members into this community is important. Would that great bear hunter Daddy Moore understand our talk? I doubt it. But he might learn that he was using a rock lock. Any way, it shines.
 
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Language does change with time; in 1641, when the King James version of the bible was written, there were "Pretty Men" and society ladies were often referred to as "Handsome." One of the ladies with whom I sing recently called me "Pretty Boy." I was so taken aback I could hardly sing. Please don't tell your girl friend/wife she is very handsome this morning. :horseback: Polecat
 
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Smoothies, Rondies, Remmies, and the like are used by modern BP shooters who live in apartments and shoot on public ranges and are completely out of touch with real muzzle loaders. They also “run” trick stainless steel nipples in Remmies etc. Most of these people use cap locks and BP substitutes and are not the real BLACKPOWER AND FLINT dedicated NMLRA competitors who keep the Sport alive as it should be.
Wow, I see a schism here that I was unaware of...somewhat surprising actually. So many of you are history buffs and you don't side with Mr. Franklin's quote, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Yes I'm surprised and it reminds me of many Harley riders in motorcycledom. IMO if you ride you experience what other riders do, rain, sadistic drivers (some actually are...I have stories), wind, dirt, bugs, sore butt etc. For that reason alone all riders should stick together and appreciate each other no matter what brand of iron horse you ride. I think the same should be true of muzzle loader enthusiasts. Oh well I guess I expect too much.
 

gunnyr

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Language does change with time; in 1641, when the King James version of the bible was written, there were "Pretty Men" and society ladies were often referred to as "Handsome." One of the ladies with whom I sing recently called me "Pretty Boy." I was so taken aback I could hardly sing. Please don't tell your girl friend/wife she is very handsome this morning. :horseback: Polecat
Dale , I don't think I'll call her handsome, I have enough knots on my head as it is.
gunny
 
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