"Flivver" in OED

Sun Jun 8 20:04:27 UTC 2003

        Although I didn't see any pre-WWI uses of "flivver" (assuming, as I do, that WWI started in 1914), I was struck by the unfamiliar term, "flivver squad," in 1919:

        >>There was a telephone call at the police station that there were numerous shots being fired at Forty-Fourth place and Shields avenue, and the 'flivver squad' jumped into a Ford and went there as fast as they could. <<

People v. Kuhn, 291 Ill. 154, 125 N.E. 882 (Ill. Dec 17, 1919).  Evidently a Chicago term, it was also used, without quotation marks, in 1926 (referring to events of 1924):

        >>He drove a couple of blocks to Fifty-Second and Washington boulevard, and the flivver squad and a policeman ordered him to stop. . . . The flivver squad of the police then followed Sberna in the machine and arrested him and took him off of the car.<<

People v. Berardi, 321 Ill. 47, 151 N.E. 555 (Ill. Apr 23, 1926).

John Baker

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