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Nobody Knows Why Marijuana is “Pot”

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Why is marijuana called pot ? Lexicographer David Maurer, an expert on underworld slang, once posited that pot is shortened from potiguaya, a term that, it turns out, isn’t Spanish. He later surmised that pot comes from potación de guaya, meaning “drink of grief,” but that proposed etymology also proved wrong. It’s been suggested that pot references the pot in which marijuana is grown, or pod, specifically the plant’s seed pod, but the truth is no one really knows why weed is also called pot. Ernest Able’s 1982 book, A Marihuana Dictionary: Words, Terms, Events, and Persons Relating to Cannabis (Bookshop|Amazon) has a comprehensive discussion of these terms. This is part of a complete episode.

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