Somebody just requested the word Bojack, which I can only assume refers to Bojack Horseman, the anthropomorphic protagonist of his eponymous comedic television show. When we try to look at the etymology of his first name, we're faced with an immediate problem: the creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, never issued a statement on this, so everything we're about to cover is pure guesswork. The most viable theory is that Bojack was named after the titular antagonist of the 1993 anime film Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound. Maybe Waksberg was a fan of Japanese sci-fi, and this seems to make the most sense because it's a previous instance of a rather odd name. That name in question would be derived from Japanese bojakubujin, which meant "audacity", so that also sort of makes sense considering Horseman's character. Other theories get increasingly less grounded in reality, from a homage to Hugh Jackman to a traditional horse-naming portmanteau of his parents' names (one suggestion was something like Bonnie and Crackerjack), but those seem to be really grasping and the DBZ explanation is most likely.
3/8/2019 01:43:41 pm
Where I grew up in a small town in south central Illinois I sometimes heard ”That’s way out in the @ bojacks.” Used like we would say ”...out in the boondocks.” I haven’t heard this anywhere else, but there was a community of Croations and some Yugoslavian who came to work in the coal mines in the late 1899’s so I wondered if the word came from one of those languages. One day I used my translation app and closest I came was something that translates into ”foreign.” but that is not a direct translation.
3/8/2019 01:53:17 pm
Interesting. As someone from a Yugoslavian family, I never heard that before. It could just be a local oddity based on mangled pronunciations. "Boondocks" also has a fascinating etymology; check it out here: https://www.etymologynerd.com/blog/boondoggling-a-word
3/19/2019 12:23:38 pm
Thank you for your reply. When I am back there this time I will talk to someone I just now thought of who might have an idea.
3/18/2019 11:49:21 pm
No less likely an inspiration (than Hugh Jackman) is the former football player from Auburn University, Bo Jackson... but then again, I don’t know jack about word origins.
3/18/2019 11:54:14 pm
Wow, and I know nothing of football! This didn't show up in my research, but I could definitely see that as being an influential name. Thank you for the input!
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.