The evolution of words? [Meaning of juggalo]

Back in the day when I was in high school, I took an elective English class, mostly because I love words. Ms. Perkins was an old school teacher, and she gave out vocabulary lists that were frequently interesting when I would learn a shiny, new word. It has been a minute since I was in that class, but I distinctly remember the word juggalo, and the meaning was “a person with a strong political affiliation with the Right”, or so I remember.

Now, no matter what resource I have used the only definition I am able to find for the word is for fans of the Insane Clown Posse, or any other Psychopathic Records hip hop group. I am not a fan, but they do not seem to be a politically affiliated group, rather they have been doing their best to dodge a Gang affiliation with the FBI.

Am I having false memories about the word juggalo? Or did it exist, but with time has evolved to mean something else?

I am so confused. :confused:

When was “back in the day”?

Boy, I’ve poked around a bit now looking for an etymology on the word. And I can’t find anything that doesn’t relate to its creation in the 90s by ICP.

Could you be misremembering another, similar word?

Such as gigolo, by chance?

UDS I took that class in 1976/77.

dtilque No, even at 16/17 I knew what a gigolo was.

I swear this is such a strong memory, I am hoping someone my age or older will chime in with some knowledge. I just don’t know how my brain would come up with a word out of the blue, complete with definition, only to find it only applies to the fans of an “outlaw” band.

There’s an obvious clown-circus-juggle-juggalo link to explain the etymology of the word as a name for fans of the Insane Clown Posse.

There’s no similar etymology to explain an earlier sense of the word as referring to a person of right-wing views. This, coupled with the complete lack of cites of anyone using the word in this sense, or referring to anyone using it in this sense, suggests to me that your memory may be playing you false.

Was your teacher the type that may have failed to detect a word as being an anti-semitic slur?

While I never saw it written down there is/was a portmanteau mixing Jew and gigolo which I heard used by the followers of Richard Girnt Butler to refer to Jewish people who happened to be conservative.

It may not be the same word but I was a bit confused when the ICP usage of the same sounding word arrived as I associated it with white nationalism and those who subscribed to Jewish conspiracy theories. I was seriously bothered when friends used the term until I realized it wasn’t related.

I doubt a teacher would intentionally put that in their curriculum but it wouldn’t be the first time someone failed to hear a dog-whistle.

Interesting. Never heard of this. But that word, of course, wouldn’t mean a person of extreme right-wing views; it’s a word that would only be used by a person of extreme right wing-views.

Or a person of extreme right-wing views, debasing another a person of extreme right-wing views who is violating the first persons views on “racial” duty.

But to be honest tracking logical motivations from those type of groups is pretty difficult.

You’d think the Oxford Book of American Political Slang would have a fair chance of covering it, unless it was very obscure and arcane.

You can’t access in full text on Google Books, but I came up with zero on a large range of permutations of jugaloo in the wordsearch.

If we’re thinking just in terms of a flat-out insult (along the lines of Tory in the UK/Ireland, for example) then Eric Partridge gives Jugelow, a Romany word meaning Dog.

I’m not convinced either, but it’s the best I can find.


Could it be jingoist? (Wiktionary defines it as “One who advocates an aggressive nationalism; one who vociferously supports a nation’s military aims.”)

Or perhaps junker (“A young German noble or squire, especially a member of the aristocratic party in Prussia, stereotyped with narrow-minded militaristic and authoritarian attitudes.”)

It doesn’t fit as well, but I’ll throw it out there: juggernaut (“A literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.”)

I’m also guessing this is the word the OP is remembering.

Also, in the caption of this “Yellow Press” cartoon:

Jingolo: an extreme right-wing rapper

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General Questions Moderator

Nitpick: Tory is not a pejorative term. Tories regularly use it of themselves.

Trivium: It’s one of the relatively few English words that comes from the Irish language.

Bizarre fact: Its original sense (in English) was “a dispossessed landowner who has turned to banditry”.

I believe we have a response from Insane Clown Posse on that:

What is a Juggalo?

I did an electronic search of the NY Times and other newspapers. The word never appeared until it was used in relation to the band.