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Etymology (Meaning of Words)/slang use of word "hoot"


I'm writing a book set in Germany in 1944. I'd like to have one of my characters say that someone he knows "is a hoot", i.e. that person is very funny. I have not been able to discover whether this slang term was in use (in English, that is) as far back as the 1940s. It's not in the OED with that meaning, and I can't find it in my slang dictionaries. Do you have any idea how to look this up?


Hello, I hope you're having a fine week,

I've checked numerous sources and, as with much etymology, there seems to be no 'aha' moment. The best we could find were educated guesses.
The expression, 'It's a real hoot' seems to have enjoyed its most frequent  usage in the early to mid 1940's. It's cited throughout the 1950's as well but less often.
if you care to pursue it further, you might do a back magazine search or a search of English language idioms and cliches.
    The best to you always.

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Carol Pozefsky


Etymology: The origins of English words and phrases. Anchor/Reporter NBC and CBS Networks. News Director 3 Regional Radio Stations.

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