Wondering Where the Word “Rummy” Comes From?

By | July 26, 2015

From Mexico to Japan, with Europe and China in between, the theories of the origin of Rummy crosses several geographical boundaries. While there is agreement globally of the popularity of this entertaining card game, the same cannot be said about the theories of its origin. In fact, the origin of the game is still a matter of conflict among historians. While there are various proposed theories, no one theory comes out to be the winner, leaving the question of the birth of the game with no definitive answer!

You can have some fun sharing with your friends all these lesser known theories associated with the name of the game of Rummy. What is well known, however, is the way the popularity of Rummy has grown exponentially through the years. More recently, online Rummy has overtaken the physical form of the card game. So, be a part of the exciting world of 13 card game and enjoy playing the game conveniently from the luxury of your home!

What is the Origin of the Word Rummy?

Some of the proposed theories for the origin of the word “Rummy” are the following:

  • “Rum” is a British slang, used for “odd”, “peculiar” or “queer”. This may have been the first reaction of the people on learning about the meticulous technicalities of this game, when it reached Europe for the first time. The word could have eventually evolved into “Rummy”.
  • A game called “Rum Poker” bears a strong similarity to Rummy; and is presumed by some to be the forerunner of the complete family of Rummy games. So, the name could have been derived from “Rum Poker”.
  • A number of people did suggest that the game was initially played for the alcoholic beverage – rum. According to them, the loser of a hand was supposed to buy the next round of drinks for all the players playing at a table.
  • A traditional book of rules spelt Rummy as “Rhum” or “Rhummy”, which suggests a European descent. In fact, “rhum vieux” is a word used in French-speaking locales, with the meaning of old rum. Rhum vieux is a mature French rum of high grade quality.
  • The Dutch word “roemer”, pronounced “rummer”, means a drinking glass brought into use by Dutch sailors. Perhaps this could have been the source of the word “rum”, the alcoholic the drink. Rummy is supposed to be one of the favorite games of the sailors in olden times.

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One thought on “Wondering Where the Word “Rummy” Comes From?

  1. Strona

    Very good article, It tells me the history of Rummy, from where the rummy came from.

    Reply

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