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First of May, Donnicker, and Other Circus Lingo

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Michelle from Valdosta, Georgia, says that in 1976, when she started out as a circus performer, she was referred to as a first of May, circus lingo that means “a newbie.” Throughout her two decades traveling with the circus, she and her co-workers used the word donicker or donnicker to mean “restroom.” Other variations include donegan, dunagin, and dunnaken, all deriving from two old words that literally mean “dung house.” The term dunny, sometimes used in Australia and New Zealand to mean “privy,” “outhouse,” or “toilet” likely comes from the same source. From the same root comes danna drag, the cart used by workers who used to go door to door collecting night soil. This is part of a complete episode.

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