What is the origin of this tongue-twister and also what specifically is meant by woodchuck here?


Woodchuck is offered as an alternative name for groundhogs.

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The etymology that woodchuck argues that words is not associated with "wood" and "chucking" and also I think the tongue twister touch on this in a humorous means because woodchucks cannot chuck lumber actually. (Can they?)

From Etymonline:

woodchuck (n.) 1670s, alteration (influenced by timber (n.)) of Cree (Algonquian) otchek or Ojibwa otchig, "marten," the name subsequently transferred to the groundhog.

How walk this word emerge (alteration due to the fact that of similar-sounding?) and how did it finish up in this tongue twister?

How is the name moved to the groundhog?


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edited Jun 15 "20 at 7:40

asked Apr 9 "14 at 21:21

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"Woodchuck" is a name for a marmot, Marmota monax, additionally known as a groundhog. The name originates from a aboriginal American (Algonquian or possibly Narragansett) wuchak.

Wikipedia claims the tongue-twister originates from a 1902 song, however the track is yes, really from 1903. The was yet a rash verse released in a children"s newspaper in 1902 or earlier.

Wikipedia: "The Woodchuck Song" (1902?)

Wikipedia says:

The origin of the phrase is a 1902 song, "The Woodchuck Song", created by Robert Howard Davis for Fay Templeton in musical The Runaways.< 7 >< 8 >

The referrals are:

7. The Tammany times - volumes 20-21 1902- web page 305 ""How lot wood would a woodchuck chuck, If a woodchuck would chuck wood?" the is the start of the stop of a song that Mr. Robert Howard Davis has written for Fay Templeton in “The Runaways.” miss Templeton is do the efforts the track ...

8. Hobbies - Volume 78, problems 1-6 - page 119 rose oil C. Lightner, Pearl Ann Reeder - 1973 "Mathias quotes Davis together saying the made $20,000 native the sale of "The Woodchuck Song" (this must have actually been from sheet music, because that royalties were no paid on document sales in those days) after ~ he and also Morse dubbed at Fay Templeton"s house .."

I looked up the very first one. The 1902 most likely via a Google books snippet, however it cannot be verified. Here"s the relevant part from the more reliable HathiTrust:


Scrolling earlier three pages, we check out the this edition (Vol. XXI No. 25) of The Tammany Times was released in October 17th, 1903, not 1902. The book contains many issues, the an initial of which to be 1902, hence the mistake in ~ Wikipedia. The short article tells us:

The music production opened up for a run of indefinite length around the first of last May, pass the 2 hundredth power at the Casino last Wednesday, ...


"How much wood would certainly a woodchuck chuck, If a woodchuck would certainly chuck wood?"

That is the beginning of the stop of a song that Mr. Robert Howard Davis has written for Fay Templeton in “The Runaways.” miss Templeton is trying the tune on Casino audiences the latter half of this week, and is making it among the pronounced song successes of the season.

This says to me the tune is a fairly brand-new addition come the musical.

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It"s likewise mentioned in this October 15th and also this October 24th, 1903 newspapers, and also this indigenous October 24th, 1903:

Fay Templeton has actually a brand-new song in "The Runaways" that has captured all Broadway. That was created for her by Robert H. Davis, and also the 2 lines which are many widely quoted are the following:

"How lot wood would a woodchuck lining if a woodchuck would chuck wood."

Wikipedia"s second reference also says 1903 and not 1902:

In 1903 Robert Hobart Davis and Theodore F. Morse provided birth to a "classic" which was published under the title of "The Woodchuck Song." that is, however, usually referred to as "How lot Wood would a Woodchuck chuck If a Woodchuck ...

Chronicling America: The Indianapolis Journal (1902)

So, is over there anything earlier? The faster I uncovered in the Chronicling America newspaper save is from The Indianapolis Journal, February 09, 1902 (Part two, page 10, picture 20):

The other day ns picked increase a children"s magazine and also found a nonsense city which ever since has to be making life a burden to me. Much more than that, I have actually repeated the verse to many of mine friends, and also they, too, have been sent to the borderland the Insanity. This is the verse:

" "How lot wood would certainly a woodchuck lining If a woodchuck can chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he might chuck If a woodchuck might chuck wood. "