Antedating of "sprog" (child)

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 7 13:14:05 UTC 2014

"sprog", a child or baby (OED sense 2: 1945)

Here's an antedating from a 1944 New Zealand newspaper. It's a good
one as it shows a link to the earlier services' slang of a new recruit
(OED sense 1941).


What does a sailor do as soon as he steps ashore? He calls for his
girl. But he won't call her that. To him, and to all the lower deck,
it is his "party." He says, "My party this," or, "My party that." It
is almost a term of endearment. Now when he gets married and his wife
has a baby, he wouldn't dream of calling it anything, else but "my
sprog." The same word is used for anyone who hasn't been in the Navy
for more than a couple of dog watches, that is, who has just joined.
He is a "sprog," too, but the sailor gets a subtle difference into his
voice when saying it.

By Percy Flage, Evening Post, Volume CXXXVIII, Issue 121, 18 November
1944, Page 6


The American Dialect Society -

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