What does Jamoke mean?

Jamoke is a slang term, used as an insult to a dude who is ordinary, boring, and really has nothing of interest to offer. A similar expression is Jabroni.

Originally it was a term for coffee, but it developed into a derogatory slur for a foolish man.

It’s a lazy, good for nothing, stupid bloke, incapable of behaving like a human being and completing simple, basic tasks. The transition from “coffee” to “useless man” happened during World War I, when soldiers started calling other men “Jamoke”, indicating that they aren’t any more intelligent than a single Cup of Joe.



What's the origin of Jamoke?

“Jamoke” as slang for coffee started out in the early 1900’s as a combination of “Java” and “Mocha”, two areas known for exporting coffee beans.

Associating “Jamoke” with a stupid man was likely influenced by the existing slur “moke”, already meaning “stupid fellow” or “donkey.”

It gained prevalence not long after the turn of the century, when World War I was raging in Europe.

Spread & Usage

How did Jamoke spread?

Following World War I, the insult was adopted by old Italian neighbourhoods in Chicago, and is still considered a part of the Chicago lingo today – like G Fazos.

A couple decades later, in the early 1960’s, it became a slang expression for a dick.

Some have even hypothesized that the term is the origin of “Cup of Joe”, another slang for coffee, implying that it started out as “Cup of Jamoke”, just to be shortened to “Joe”.

External resources

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