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The term came into the popular vernacular in the jazz scene in 1920's Harlem[1].


booder (plural booders)

  1. (US, slang, dated, jazz) A catch-all phrase for an object, person, or place.

Usage notes[edit]

Originally used by young males from what would become the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Hamilton Heights, to the north of Harlem.[2] The vernacular moved with the spread of jazz music through New York City, traveling gradually downtown. Secondhand accounts cite Duke Ellington having used the word to describe the "...booders in those martinis..." and Sidney Bechet saying that his "[expletive] booder is loose," before a concert with Louis Armstrong in 1925. [3] Usage declined in the mid-50's.[4]

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Harlem- the Making of a Ghetto 1890-1930, Gilbert Osofsky, 1966
  2. ^ The Harlem Renaissance, James Haskins, 1996
  3. ^ Soloists and Sidemen: American Jazz Stories, Peter Vacher, 2004
  4. ^ Rock and Roll: A Social History, Paul Friedlander, 1996