Larry Scroggs Larry at SCROGGS.COM
Sun Apr 3 15:36:49 UTC 2005

Date:    Sat, 2 Apr 2005 22:38:19 -0500
From:    "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
Subject: Re: pea-warmer / pee-warmer

>"Pea- / pee-warmer" appears to mean "humdinger," if we can believe the
>roughly half-dozen citations found in print between 1877 and
>1901.  Naturally, all are spelled as "pea-," not "pee-."
>The earliest ex. is as the name of a mine in the Dakota Territory.
>There are no independent cites known after 1901, except for the one on the
>Net that claims a "pea-warmer " to be a little brassiere.  Right.
>The semantic and etymological puzzles here are inseparably entwined, along
>with the mysteries of  1) why "pea-warmer" (esp. if understood as
>"pee-warmer") should have so completely fallen from use, and 2) how the
>guy on the Net happened to hear it.

I've never heard "pea-warmer" or "piss-warmer" AFAIK. I've heard
"piss-cutter" (rarely) and "pisser" in about the same sense (also the
likely euphemism/derivative "pistol").

How old are "piss-cutter" and "pisser" in the "humdinger" sense? How are
they related to "piss-warmer"?

What about "pissant"? In one of the on-line instances "pea warmer" has more
this type of sense, it seems.

I don't see an obviously likely etymology for "piss-warmer" or for
"pea-warmer", but "piss-cutter" is even more inexplicable, I think.
Conceivably the "piss-" words might be based on some perhaps forgotten
folk-physiology, along the lines of "piss-proud".

It is possible that the "tiny brassiere" usage is entirely independent and
coincidental ... or maybe not.

-- Doug Wilson

In the Marine Corps we called the garrison cap a "pisscutter". It was a flat rectangular shape with rounded top corners. We had one for both the green and tropical uniform. It was also called an overseas cap because it was much easier to pack in a seabag than the service cap also known as a busdriver's hat. I believe the Army called the garrison cap a "cunt cap".

Larry at

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