trou (1970)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Dec 26 05:38:11 UTC 2006

On 12/26/06, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at> wrote:
> The latest OED draft entry for "trou" as a clipped form of "trousers"
> identifies it as a New Zealandism, with a first cite of 1970.

Sorry, I meant 1971.

> And the
> phrase "drop trou" = 'pull down one's pants' is identified as "orig.
> and chiefly U.S." with a first cite of 1976. This might suggest that
> "trou" somehow traveled from New Zealand to the U.S. in the '70s. But
> here's a U.S. cite from 1970:
> -----
> Harvard Crimson, May 8, 1970
> Spider wanted to rap about white socks. "You like the bright cottons
> or the wooly whites?" Spider asked.
> "I'm a cotton man, myself. Your feet don't sweat as much."
> "Besides," Spider pointed out, "cotton ones look better, especially
> with black trou."
> -----
> Since this cite occurs in the context of '50s-style greasers (at a Sha
> Na Na concert), it's very possible that "trou" dates back another
> decade or two in U.S. usage.
> --Ben Zimmer

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