Thomas Aloysius Dorgan

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan (April 29, 1877May 2, 1929) also known as "Tad Dorgan", was an American cartoonist who signed his drawings as TAD. He is credited with coining more popular words and expressions than anyone else.


He was born in San Francisco on April 29, 1877. He had two brothers: Richard Dorgan an Joseph Dorgan, and he was married to Izole M. When he was thirteen years old, he lost the last three fingers of his right hand in an accident with a factory machine. He took up drawing for therapy. A year later at the age of 14 he joined the art staff of the San Francisco Bulletin. By 1905 he was working in New York City at the New York Journal as a sports writer and cartoonist. Jack Dempsey described him as "the greatest authority on boxing".

Dorgan is generally credited with either creating or popularizing such words and expressions as "dumbbell" (a stupid person); "for crying out loud" (an exclamation of astonishment); "cat's meow" and "cat's pajamas" (as superlatives); "applesauce" (nonsense); "cheaters'" (eyeglasses); "skimmer" (a hat); "hard-boiled" (a tough person); "drugstore cowboy" (loafers or ladies' men); "nickel-nurser" (a miser); "as busy as a one-armed paperhanger" (overworked); and "Yes, we have no bananas," which was turned into a popular song.

His New York Times obituary brackets him with George Ade and Ring Lardner as popularizers of "a new slang vernacular," and also credits him as originator of "Twenty-three, Skidoo," "solid ivory," "Dumb Dora," "finale hopper," "Benny" for hat and "dogs'" for shoes.

W.J. Funk, of the Funk and Wagnall's dictionary company, placed Dorgan at the top of the list of the 10 "most fecund makers of American slang".

Dorgan was erroneously credited with coining the usage of the phrase "hot dog" in reference to sausage (see Hot dog#Etymology).

Dorgan retired in the early 1920s because of poor health and died of heart disease, hastened by pneumonia in Great Neck, New York


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