Origin of "flamer"?

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Dec 14 14:51:28 UTC 2006

     FWIW: The word "flamer" remains in one of my amusing memories of undergraduate days.  IIRC, it was short for "flaming asshole."  Anyway, my family came to attend my graduation (1962), and some time before the ceremony I was walking along with my younger sister and perhaps one or two friends.  I spotted another friend heading our way and told my sister how to greet him. When we all reached the same point in the sidewalk, I said, "Dave, this is my sister."  He gave a friendly "hello," and at that point my sister (who knew only that the word sounded funny but had no idea of its etymology) looked up and said, "Hi, flamer."  
    It was of course totally obvious that she had done so under my instruction. Dave wagged his finger at me, but there were no hard feelings.
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Pam Norton
Sent: Thu 12/14/2006 12:54 AM
Subject: Origin of "flamer"?

   My 19 year old daughter has just informed me that there is a term "flamer," not referring to flaming on the internet, but referring to gay people. I have never heard of this, although I have heard of "flaming" as an adjective equivalent of "flamboyant". She swears this is "old" usage, e.g. from the '80's. I can see how this meaning would develop but does anyone know the origin (and is it from the 80's?). I can't believe I've never heard of this, so my feeling is that it's got to be something from her generation. True?


Pam Norton

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

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

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