"roach" = 'joint' butt--anything before 1938?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Nov 17 02:48:04 UTC 2003

Most of the books seem to prefer derivation from the insect "[cock]roach".
Chapman's slang dictionary gives additionally an alternative from "roach
mane" meaning the short-cut ("roached") mane of a horse.

I think the insect derivation is superficially plausible. I would consider
derivation from "roach" referring to a [human's] hairdo as an alternative.
I used to hear about "roached hair" a few decades ago, but I can't remember
exactly what it referred to then (if I ever knew). The books say "roach"
refers to a roll of hair brushed back/up off the forehead. Women once wore
"roach combs" in their hair, says DARE for example: maybe they wore "roach
clips" too ....

-- Doug Wilson

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