Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Nonce word,[1] from sockdolager + -ize + -ing. Coined 1858 by Tom Taylor for the play Our American Cousin. Taylor presumably learned sockdolager from Dictionary of Americanisms (1848) by John Russell Bartlett and used it to evoke Americanness in his play’s title character.[1]


sockdologizing (comparative more sockdologizing, superlative most sockdologizing)

  1. (nonce word) Ambiguous term of abuse; scheming.[1]
    • 1858, Tom Taylor, Our American Cousin
      "Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Wal, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdologizing old man-trap."

Usage notes[edit]

The term is not given enough context for an unambiguous definition,[1] but is clearly used as a term of abuse. Best known for role in assassination of Abraham Lincoln.[1] The line containing sockdologizing was the cue used by John Wilkes Booth to time the assassination, as the resulting laughter covered Booth’s actions.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 14 American English Abroad, Richard W. Bailey, 14.1 Introduction, pp. 456–458, in The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume 6, 1992