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From a Native American word which was an onomatopoeic representation of the animals' cry.[1]


wishtonwish (plural wishtonwishes)

  1. (US, obsolete, except perhaps in dialects) The prairie dog.
    • 1812 April, Pike's Expedition, in The General Repository and Review, volume 1, page 398:
      On the twenty fourth of October, while on a short excursion from this place, Lt. Pike and Dr. Robertson, (a gentleman who accompanied the expedition,) killed some prairie squirrels, or wishtonwishes, and nine rattle snakes, []
    • 1937, James Thurber, Let Your Mind Alone, page 189:
      [] who, it turned out, devoted all his spending money to them, asked me if I had ever seen a "wishtonwish."


  1. ^ 1910, Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, edited by Frederick Webb Hodge, part 2, page 965