Word Chaser of the Day – JUKE

On a recent very long drive home from a Thanksgiving weekend with family in Napa, California, conversation meandered through a variety of topics.

When my husband started talking football and juke in the same sentence I was perplexed. How did we go from a roadside or rural establishment offering liquor, dancing, and often gambling and prostitution such as a juke house or juke joint to a juke box? Well apparently playing dance music on a juke box,  had its origins with West African “joog”  as some sort of demonizing movements and gyrations. Juke was popularized in Florida and then chiefly in the Southeastern states an African-American word meaning a roadside drinking establishment that offering cheap drinks, food, and music that doubled as a brothel. Hence, given that to juke is dancing, observe the football player attempting to deceive or outmaneuver (a defending opponent) by a fake! Juke is a word that merits a return to our vocabulary.


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