We’ve debunked the tale of how Black Friday came about, now we will fact check the crazy tale of the etymology of picnic.
Have you heard the story about where the word picnic comes from? If you haven’t, you’ve been lucky so far. If you have, let’s fact check that story.
Here’s another tall tale showing the lengths some will go to get a rise out of people. The $$ signs are inserted to lessen offence.
This e-mail is being sent to you as a public service announcement and as information in the form of a little known Black History Fact. This information can also be found in the African American Archives at the Smithsonian Institute.
Although not taught in American learning institutions and literature, it is noted in most Black history professional circles and literature that the origin of the term “picnic” derives from the acts of lynching African-Americans. The word “picnic” is rooted from the whole theme of “Pick A Ni$$er.” This is where individuals would “pic” a Black person to lynch and make this into a family gathering. There would be music and a “picnic.” (“Nic” being the white acronym for “ni$$er.”) Scenes of this were depicted in the movie “Rosewood.”
We should choose to use the word “barbecue” or “outing” instead of the word “picnic.”
Please forward this e-mail to all of your family and friends and let’s educate our people.
The truth is that the word ‘picnic’ began life as a 17th-century French word: it wasn’t even close to being an American invention. A 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Françoise de Ménage mentions ‘piquenique’ as being of recent origin and marks the first appearance of the word in print.
As for how the French came by this new term, it was likely invented by joining the common form of the verb ‘piquer’ (meaning “to pick” or “peck”) with ‘nique,’ possibly either a Germanic term meaning “worthless thing” or merely a nonsense rhyming syllable coined to fit the first half of this new palate-pleaser.
The first documented appearance of the term outside the French language occurred in 1748, but picnic was rarely used in English prior to 1800 or thereabouts. Even then, the word still wasn’t being used in America (but rather in England) and referred to a fashionable pot-luck social affair that was not necessarily held out-of-doors.