What does Jamoke mean?

A jamoke is a dude who is ordinary, boring, and really has nothing of interest to offer.

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”.

Spread & Usage

How did Jamoke spread?

After World War I, the insult was adopted by old Italia neighbourhoods in Chicago, and is today considered a part of the Chicago lingo. (as of 13.07.20)

A couple decades later, in the early 1960’s, it became a slang for man’s best piece.

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”.

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