Jockey was first used to refer to a person who rides a horse in races from the second half of the 17th century:
Etymonline says that jockey (n.) is a variant of the name Jack:
- 1520s, "boy, fellow," originally a Scottish proper name, variant of Jack. The meaning "person who rides horses in races" first attested 1660s.
According to Wikipedia, jockey might derive from the Gaelic word eachaidhe:
- Another possible origin is the Gaelic word eachaidhe, a "horseman", (pronounced yachey in late medieval times, with the ch pronounced as in German).
During the 20th century the term jockey has also been used to refer to:.
- (Informal) One whose occupation or hobby involves a specified machine, device, or object: a computer jockey; a desk jockey. (AHD)
Probably, one of the earliest of this informal usages was "disc jokey", an expression that, together with its variants, was to become more and more popular in the following decades:
Disk jockey first recorded 1941; dee-jay is from 1955; DJ is 1961; (Etymonline)
The following extract gives a brief history of the expression and says that jockey referred to a "machine operator".
- The term disk jockey was first used in 1935 by American radio commentator Walter Winchell to describe Martin Block; the first radio announcer that became famous for his show "Make Believe Ballroom" where Block would pretend he was broadcasting from a ballroom by playing the nation’s top dance bands. The term “disc jockey”, derived from “disc”, referring to the disc records and “jockey” which is a machine operator, caught on and appeared in print in "Variety" in 1941.
1) Does the original meaning of jockey (person who rides a horse in races) derive from the Scots Jack , the Gaelic eachaidhe (horseman) or from some other source?
2) Does the informal meaning of jockey, (someone whose work involves the use of a particular object or machine) in expressions like computer jockey, desk jockey or disc jockey, derive from its original meaning?
3) Was "disc jockey" the first expression where the term "jockey" was used to refer to someone outside the horse racing contexts.