Galoot's origins are unknown. The first known use of the term -- referring to a big, stupid, awkward man -- goes back to 1866. The Dutch
, which means eunuch
, might be the progenitor
. It's possible the term had its origin in the US navy, such as it was in 1866. Many navy ships carried a compliment of soldiers. However the soldiers, not being able seamen, contributed little to a ship's operation. They got to sit around, waiting to repel Spaniard
s or Huguenot
s or whatever.
This obvious lack of effort earned them the snarling disrespect of the actual sailors, who would refer to them as "galoots" behind their back. This dovetail
s nicely with the Dutch eunuch origin as soldiers aboard ship do seem very eunuch like.