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What did you call such a sack growing up

Posted by John H on 12/19/03 at 21:10 (140384)

I lived in western North Carolina and we called the Tow Sacks.

SYLLABICATION: gunányásack
NOUN: Chiefly Western U.S. A bag or sack made of gunny. Also called Regional croker sack, Regional tow bag, Regional tow sack. Also called regionally Regional crocus sack.
REGIONAL NOTE: A large sack made from loosely woven, coarse material goes by a variety of names in regional American English. The most general term is burlap bag, known everywhere but used especially in the Northeast. In the Midwest and West the usual term is gunnysack, which ultimately comes from the Sanskrit word gon, meaning 'jute or hemp fiber. In the Upper South such a sack is called a tow sack, and in Eastern North Carolina, a tow bag. (The word tow is another synonym for fabric made from jute or hemp and probably derives from an Old English word for 'spinning. ) In South Carolina and adjacent parts of Georgia, it is called a crocus sack, and in the Gulf states, a croker sack, both terms deriving from the word crocus. According to Craig M. Carver, who draws on the research of Walter S. Avis, 'Crocus is a coarse, loosely woven material once worn by slaves and laborers and common in colonial New England. It probably took its name from the sacks in which crocus or saffron was shipped. Though the term crocus sack virtually disappeared from New England by the end of the 19th century, it survives in the South.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Re: What did you call such a sack growing up

Ron B on 12/19/03 at 21:22 (140385)

In the State of Washington its a gunny sack. we use to get in them as kids and have races I still have a few out in the shed
Ron B

Re: What did you call such a sack growing up

nancy s. on 12/20/03 at 08:24 (140411)

in new york state we knew them as potato sacks, and i participated in many a potato-sack race as a kid. we stepped into them and hopped quite a distance to a finish line. i never won, am not coordinated or balanced enough, even though my name derives from the name 'ann,' which means 'grace.' ha.


Re: What did you call such a sack growing up

Kathy G on 12/20/03 at 09:07 (140413)

Wouldn't you know that boring New Englanders call them burlap bags, just as the article said? I've lived in CT, NH and MA, and that's what they were always called.

And I've always felt like I had a deprived childhood because I was never in a sack race! For that matter, I don't think my children ever were.

Okay, that's a good topic for Christmas dinner, I'll find out if any of us old New Englanders ever was in a sack race!

Re: What did you call such a sack growing up

Richard, C.Ped on 12/20/03 at 12:18 (140437)

I am in South Carolina, and I have never heard the term 'crocus' sack. I have heard gunney and potato sack.