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Other ethnic groups have understandable derogatory slurs (Nigger is a corruption of Negro, Polack is obvious, Spic I assume comes from ''Hispanic,") and the list goes on. The Yiddish word for 'circle' is kikel (pronounced KY - kel), and for 'little circle,' kikeleh.When Italian immigrants came to Ellis Island, many of them did not have the proper documentation. Were the Italians the only ones without documentation? At that time kike was more of an affectionate term, or used by Jews to describe other Jews, and only developed into a racial slur later on.Here's what the OED has to say on the etymologies of the above words:[list][*]kike: said to be an alteration of -ki (or -ky), a common ending of the personal names of Eastern European Jews who emigrated to the U. The patronymics -ki, and -ky are found in Russia, Romania, the Ukraine etc.If this is the origin of kike, why didn't it apply to all people from this area?The strip created a short-lived fad of applying the word gook to anyone with strange customs, anyone who didn't fit in.I don't know whether the cartoonist originated the term or picked up on an existing bit of jargon. a) To borrow from Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, "The word kike was born on Ellis Island, when Jewish immigrants who were illiterate (or could not use Roman-English letters), when asked to sign the entry-forms with the customary 'X,' refused -- and instead made a circle.Credible sources universally agree upon the words etymology.
In June through August 1904 there appeared in the New York Evening World newspaper a comic strip titled "The Great American Gook", by Ferdinand Long.
Sure the Germans brought plenty of other foods (numerous sausages, many recipes for beer,) but most of these were palatable to Americans of the time.
The appeal of a plate of rancid cabbage escaped them, and sauerkraut was singled out.
I also don't know if the use of "gook" in this context outlived the strip to the extent ofdovetailing with the later usage.
Since the word "gook" came up in this thread, I've long had a question I've never known the answer to.