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Dickey boot trunk

The dickey of a 1955 Hudson Rambler (Source: Wikipedia)

Indians are familiar with and continue to employ the word dickey (also spelt dickie or dicky) as a synonym for the British boot and the American trunk. It is a leftover from British India that has persisted in Indian English but lapsed out of use everywhere else. While it is perfectly acceptable to call the boot a dickie, technically speaking, it was actually a term used for a seat often used to also hold the luggage.

The dickey is synonymous with the American rumble seat—due to it being uncomfortable—and was inherited from the parlance of horse-drawn carriages. The discomfort was not necessarily experienced by the luggage. Instead it was experienced by the servants who were often relegated to the dickey. On a carriage, the dickey was a seat outside the compartment at the rear. In an automobile, it unfolded out of the rear storage compartment (the actual boot with the stepney, another lasting Indianism). In either instance, the seat was left open to the elements although some cars did offer an optional windshield that provided a modicum of protection.

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