Dough Boys

Can a beautiful, leather couch really be nicknamed ‘Dough Boy?’ Does this match the sophisticated, high class image we’re trying to create? Oh wait, we don’t have a chance to create (much less maintain) such an image. We’ll have to stick with ‘comfortable, relaxed, and well-lived in.’ That sounds more like our style (whether by choice or compulsion).

david the dough boy

Mind you, some would say ‘Cream Puff’ is a terrible name for a beautiful, cream, leather recliner. Sounds like a poodle or a nickname for your junior high girlfriend. My family seized upon the name, but then they have a strong fondness for cream puffs. Rachel requested them as a dessert for our Christmas party (a la Costco and, of course, sold in a large tub) and they were a huge hit.

cream puffs

So ‘Cream Puff’ is here to stay. I’m still debating about ‘Dough Boy’ but I suspect I am fighting a losing battle. Especially since Tim has put his foot down, or rather his feet up (on the comfy couch).

Of course, in my research (and you must do much research when naming a piece of furniture) the term Dough Boys (spelled as one word) has a long and interesting history.

In this instance I am referring to doughboys, as in the military term for the soldiers who fought in World War I. Not, as may have originally been assumed, the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Just wanted to be sure we were clear on things. I did, however, stumble on a whole line of cartoons around the little Pillsbury guy that had me chuckling. I had to post this one as it makes me think of some friends over at the SHS loop who are occasionally feeling down and tired.


I also came across Doughboy Pools which claim to be “The Original Portable Pool.” But I digress.

Wikipedia defines doughboy as a “now-outdated slang term for an American infantryman, best known from its use in World War I, although it potentially dates back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.”

dough boy

In a historical context, there are many theories on where exactly the name originated. For more information than you could ever want on the term, click here.

I’ll post just a couple random comments from the article (An Interim Report By Website Editor Michael E. Hanlon):

“The expression doughboy, though, was in wide circulation a century before the First World War in both Britain and America, albeit with some very different meanings. Horatio Nelson’s sailors and Wellington’s soldiers in Spain were both familiar with fried flour dumplings called doughboys, the predecessor of the modern doughnut…”

I’m feeling just a wee bit hungry. It’s been a while since dinner.

“Independently, in the former colonies, the term had come to be applied to baker’s young apprentices, i.e. dough-boys. Again, American soldiers probably were familiar with this usage. This version of doughboy was also something of a distant relative to “dough-head”, a colloquialism for stupidity in 19th Century America.”

Nice! Why is it that something with the word ‘head’ in it is automatically an insult? Mr. Potato head notwithstanding.

“The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang cites several sources from the War with Mexico showing doughboy to be a nickname for the infantry including:

We “doughboys” had to wait for the artillery to get their carriages over.
N.J.T. Dana [An infantryman]

No man of any spirit and ambition would join the “Doughboys” and go afoot.
Samuel Chamberlain [A Dragoon]

And then, of course, there are the extensive theories that surround the origin of the title. I am still amazed that there has been this much discussion on the topic – enough to warrant more than one hypothesis. Not to leave you hanging, here they are:

The Baked Goods Theory
The Button Theory
The Pipe Clay Theory
The Adobe Theory

I must admit that I have done no further research (as mentioned earlier, this is really more information than most people care to know and I am definitely one of those people) so I can’t truly verify the validity of this report. Still, would goggle lead me wrong??

With that I leave you to carry on. Meanwhile I have a strange craving for donuts.


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3 thoughts on “Dough Boys”

  1. Wow! Very interesting information about doughboys and naming furniture. I think you are starting a trend….the kids want to call OUR couch Bomis the Tan Tan now. Will it ever end? Hee hee hee!

  2. Jen–I love it!! I think Bomis the Tan Tan is a great name (if a little long). I am still upset that Sugar Loaf didn’t make the final cut. I’m just not sure I keep a straight face if I tell someone to “go sit on the Doughboy” or “the sweatshirt is on the doughboy.” Doesn’t that just sound sort of odd. :)

  3. Hi, Uncle Jerry says that ‘doughboy’ is a trade name and shouldn’t be used. Ha. Publically- that is.

    Pillsbury was founded here in MPLS altho it is now General MIlls.

    I love Orange Crush for the orange chair. Mainly because as kids we used to love the pop orange crush. Is it around anymore??

    Loving you educated Edgrens. AK

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