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THE JAWBONE’S CONNECTED TO. . .

David B. Reiss (Letters, May 22) is wrong in saying that the word for Kissinger-type experts, “jaboney,” is the diminutive of “jawboner.” Jaboney actually stems from giabone, Italian-American slang translated roughly as “self-important fool.” It derives from the northwestern-Italian Piemontese dialect word giambone (same meaning, pronounced jahm-boh-nay), which comes from the dialect word for ham, giambon. And giambon probably comes, as many Piemontese words do, from the French, in this case from the French for ham, jambon.

LOUIS C. KILGORE

Redondo Beach

I first heard the word “jaboney” in 1953. Could it stem from the Italian word gibonne, meaning gibbon, a small arboreal ape?

Trying to guess the derivation of a word can make a monkey out of anyone.

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JIM SHEA

Pasadena


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