Origin of "flamer"?

Scot LaFaive spiderrmonkey at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 14 15:26:35 UTC 2006

I know of "flamer" as a gay man and I remember first hearing it sometime in
the mid-90's, though I never heard a good reason why that word was chosen.
If I had to guess I'd say it came from "flamboyant," since that's what it's
always meant to me: a man who is flamboyantly gay. HDAS has it to 1972.


>From: Pam Norton <pcnorton at YAHOO.COM>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Origin of "flamer"?
>Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 22:54:42 -0800
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Pam Norton <pcnorton at YAHOO.COM>
>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

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