"Rosco" (in "Dukes of Hazard") from cant "rosco" (pistol)?

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Feb 2 20:40:28 UTC 2004

In a message dated Sun, 1 Feb 2004 15:14:48 -0600,  Gerald Cohen
<gcohen at UMR.EDU> writes

>      The 1980s TV show Dukes of Hazard included a perpetually bumbling
>  sheriff's deputy named Rosco P. Coltrane. I've recently noticed that
>  was (perhaps still is) a cant term meaning "pistol, revolver."
>      Might this cant "rosco(e)" perhaps lie behind the name Rosco in the TV
> show?
>  There's of course also "Colt" in his last name "Coltrane."

No, there is no /kolt/ in /'kol tshrein/.  Roscoe the coal train runs on the
Roscoe, Snyder, and Pacific Railroad.

Considering the obvious pastiche names in "Dukes of Hazzard" (wasn't there a
"Boss Hawg"?  Or am I thinking of a different show?), I seriously doubt that
the show's creators went to such subtle lengths as "rosco" = pistol, although
"Coltrane" conceivably could be a reference to how fast Mr. Roscoe moves.

     - Jim Landau

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