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Krewe
2014/07/13
8:08am
Veras
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2014/07/13
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I’ve been doing research on the origin of the word krewe, as in an organization that stages parades and other events during Mardi Gras (particularly associated with New Orleans).

The world seems to have been created in 1857 by a group called the Mistik Krewe of Comus.  From what I can gather, they intentionally misspelled crew as krewe to make it look archaic (though I haven’t found any evidence that any variation of the word ever began with k).
 
However, Merriam-Webster states that the first known use of krewe was in 1936.  I find it unlikely that M-W is simply wrong, and suspect that there is a deeper explanation.  My guess is that the word shifted from being the specific term for one group to being a general term for any formal organization involved in organizing Mardi Gras events, but I cannot find anything to verify that.  I would expect a change in language like that to be gradual, but this would presumably lead M-W to say that the word evolved over time, rather than in one specific year.
 
Does anyone have any insight into this?
 
Thank you.