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Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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rozzer [Oct. 24th, 2008|08:58 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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[gwoman]
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rozzer, n. [roz-er, rŏz-ər]
-This is a chiefly British slang term for a police officer, somewhat akin to the American slang pig, po-po. Origins of the British word are very fuzzy. The earliest citation is from 1893, found in P. H. Emerson's Signor Lippo - Burnt Cork Artiste: "If the rozzers was to see him in bona clobber they'd take him for a gun." The Oxford English Dictionary officially states the etymology of rozzers as uncertain, but there is speculation that it may have come from early Polari slang which was a gay slang language in Britain. The only evidence for this is the use of the word bona in the quote, which is another Polari slang word meaning 'good.' If this is indeed the case, then rozzers would have to have been a very early Polari term that became mainstreamed before it could be recorded as such.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: telscha
2008-10-25 04:22 am (UTC)
Cops also get called pigs here too, along with The Filth and Bobbies. Bobbies is after Sir Robert Peel who founded the Brit police force. They get called Peelers for the same reason.
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[User Picture]From: neverreal
2008-10-25 06:02 am (UTC)
I didn't know the origins of those terms - that's really interesting!
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-10-26 12:47 am (UTC)
nice addition, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: neverreal
2008-10-25 06:01 am (UTC)
That's pretty cool. I think Polari is really interesting - I stumbled across it when I was looking at info on Morrissey's albums.
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-10-26 12:47 am (UTC)
yeah, i'd never heard of it before this. very interesting!
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From: elanor_pam
2008-10-25 05:59 pm (UTC)
I was wondering about the origins of "majesty" and its derivatives.
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-10-26 12:48 am (UTC)
added!
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[User Picture]From: dgirl1300
2008-10-25 10:43 pm (UTC)
gay as in homosexual?
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-10-26 12:48 am (UTC)
mhmm, gay as in homosexual.
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[User Picture]From: good_the_third
2008-10-26 11:48 am (UTC)
Actually, what is the origin of hoodlum? The OED says it originated in San Francisco, can you find anything beyond that?
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2008-10-26 06:47 pm (UTC)
i'll add that to the list for you :)
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From: (Anonymous)
2018-01-27 08:38 am (UTC)

Rozzers...

My dad was from Liverpool, not gay, used this for the Police as a general term. In East Anglia where I grew up , I never heard anyone use it and have a few gay friends....
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From: (Anonymous)
2018-05-28 01:50 pm (UTC)

John

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From: (Anonymous)
2018-07-01 07:16 am (UTC)
Bona and Polari are used by "Julian and Sandy" from the old radio show "Around the Horn" I always thought it was made up not actual gay slang.
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