"fish" (was Re: "moist")

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 8 07:15:15 UTC 2011

On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 4:59 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> "a foolish or inexperienced person"

This was the common meaning of "fish" as a G.I. slang term, back in
the day when I was in The War, fifty years ago. It was used especially
of those newly-arrived from The World - where even cheerleaders still
wore knee-lehgth skirts - who foolishly thought that B-girls could be
seduced, if you bought them enough wine, pernod, or "piccolos," sekt
that came in a 7-Up-sized bottle.

My WAG is that this use of "fish" came about as a consequence of the
manner in which the squares were easily "hooked" by the "bait" - the
miniskirt. The miniskirt had not yet been officially "invented" by
Mary Quant, but it certainly existed as early as 1960. Even shorter
skirts - the likewise-not-yet-officially-invented micro-mini - were
reserved for wearing only on payday.

Since pantyhose had also not yet been invented, the average G.I. was
mustered out with a knowledge of styles of garter belt far superior to
anything that could have been gleaned through even the closest reading
of a Frederick's of Hollywood catalog.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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