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Locofoco

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Locofoco A friction match.
    • Locofoco A nickname formerly given to a member of the Democratic party.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n locofoco A kind of self-lighting cigar: so called in New York in 1834.
    • n locofoco A friction-match.
    • n locofoco [capitalized] In United States history, one of the equal-rights or radical section of the Democratic party about 1835; by extension, in disparagement, any member of that party. The name was given in allusion to an incident which occurred at a tumultuous meeting of the Democratic party in Tammany Hall, New York, in 1835, when the radical faction, after their opponents had turned off the gas, relighted the room with candles by the aid of locofoco matches. The Locofoco faction soon disappeared, but the name was long used for the Democratic party in general by its opponents. Often in the abbreviated form Loco (pl. Locos.)
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Locofoco lō-kō-fō′kō (U.S.) a friction match: the extreme section of the Democratic party of 1835, known as the Equal Rights Party, or any adherent of it.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Of uncertain etymol.; perh. for L. loco foci, instead of fire; or, according to Bartlett, it was called so from a self-lighting cigar, with a match composition at the end, invented in 1834 by John Marck of New York, and called by him locofoco cigar, in imitation of the word locomotive, which by the uneducated was supposed to mean, self-moving
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. locus, a place, focus, a hearth.

Usage

In literature:

From this circumstance they were called Locofocos, a name which the Whigs soon applied to the whole Democratic party.
"A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3" by DeAlva Stanwood Alexander
The driver was a stubborn Locofoco, and Benson did not disdain to enter into an elaborate argument with him.
"The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 2, January, 1851" by Various
These Locofocos were the first Americans to demand fundamental social changes for the benefit of the workers in the cities.
"The Frontier in American History" by Frederick Jackson Turner
It would appear as if Locofoco-ism and infidelity had formed an union, and were fighting under the same banner.
"Diary in America, Series One" by Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
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