Where Porter's parenthetical (I think “gin-i-ker” means “full of gin.”) is a shot in the dark, Cassidy's polyglot ear for slang catches the Irish "tine caor" (pron. jin-i-kær) meaning "raging fire and lightning," delivering a livelier and more nuanced read. You'll see mention of Scoop Gleeson, but find out he's holed up 40 miles north of SF in Boyes Hot Springs, CA covering the Seals spring training. There may never be a definitive answer to the headline question, but as far as I know, this is likely as close as you'll get.
>But you can also see how Max Roach was wrong when he said they applied the term “jazz” as an insult. This was advertising! “Come see this lively, exciting, JAZZ music!” It would have made no sense if the word were perceived as negative. Did the word have a sexual connotation in some circles, as he claimed? Absolutely: any word for energy eventually has sexual connotations, it seems. But that connotation came later, and in any case it probably wasn’t the thinking of the white folks who named the music. On the other hand, did the word stand in the way of many “respectable” people, white and also religious black Americans, from accepting this new kind of music? Definitely so.
I'm somewhat surprised that a jazz scholar would overlook the possibility that the tropes used to promote black music in the early 20th century could be deeply derogatory. The popularisation of jazz came very shortly after the peak of minstrelsy. Contemporary descriptions of jazz by white authors often segue rapidly from terms like "lively" and "exciting" to "primitive" or "savage". Early jazz sheet music covers were far more likely to feature a racist caricature than the image of a black artist; the marketing of early jazz records is often barely distinguishable from the marketing of minstrel troupes in previous decades. The sexual connotations of the term and the music cannot be separated from the sexual demonisation of black men at that time.
From the paragraph before the one you quoted, I think the author's claim there is that "jazz" wasn't (at that point) being used to refer particularly to black music, so it follows that it didn't do so derogatorily.
>If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know
- Louis Armstrong
> It should be clear by now that all of the popular stories about the origin of the word are wrong
Well that went from "probably" to clarity pretty quickly. (the rest of the article doesn't mention the probable claim again; the only possible reference is an OED quote about "jasm", not about "jazz").
While I'm sure the OED does make a compelling connection between "jazz" and "jasm", it seems a bit disorganised for the article not to reference this directly (presuming that's the author's source).
The tone is also so odd: it's as if it was written purely as a rebuttal to some pub debate that the author had been particularly worked up about, zealous exclamation-marks throughout.
And "-asm" is such an unusual word ending in English, it makes me wonder how "jasm" itself came about? (If I didn't know any better, seeing the word for the first time I'd never guess it was supposed to be English.)
Running a regex on the dictionary, there are only a handful of other words ending in it -- mostly "sarcasm", "orgasm", "chasm", "spasm", and various scientific terms ending in "plasm" (e.g. "nucleoplasm").
More to the point, TFA lays out various evidence why this particular theory is unlikely.
As in tipping service? It'd be ensure anyway, surely?
The same. For whatever reason false etymologies based on acronyms abound, with "tip" and "posh" being among the better-known. There's also "for unlawful carnal knowledge" for fuck, "gentlemen only ladies forbidden" for golf, "constable on patrol" for cop, etc. I've even heard people claim rap derives from "rhythm and poetry". But basically they're all bunk, apart from words of quite recent coinage.
(I might add that tons of false etymologies without acronyms float around as well - "mind your Ps and Qs" being related to pints and quarts, stuff like that. Morris used to blame tour guides as being the worst culprits of keeping such things alive.)
The cynic would be mostly right, at least for much of the history of English, as for hundreds of years insure and ensure were simply spelling variants, and had no more difference between them than theatre and theater.
However, in the middle of the 19th century some began to find fault with this, and proposed assigning meanings to ensure, insure, and assure in more orderly fashion.
PS: Tip is unlikely to have started as an acronym in either case.
It's a good story, let it live.