trou (1970) hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Dec 26 16:21:05 UTC 2006

I recall hearing it at Wabash College in the early 1960s although the more
common expression was to moon. A pheasant under glass referred showing your
penis through a window. A pressed ham referred to pressing your butt up
against a window often from a car.

When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
How I long for my Indiana home.

Thad Seymour btw later became president of Wabash after I graduated and was
apparently well loved there as well. As I recall some of the students of
that era told me they used to call him Dad Thad. He became expert on Wabash
history, and I used to correspond with him on the subject.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
> Date: 12/26/2006 10:43:02 AM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] trou (1970)
>     I can say with certainty that the phrase was used already at
Dartmouth College no later than the spring of 1960.  I was in my sophomore
year (1959-1960), when a bizarre incident occurred involving two or
possibly three Dartmouth students: They had traveled to another college (it
was probably a women's college) and dropped their trousers in front of a
women's dormitory.  I'm not sure what the purpose of this exercise was, but
it got them into trouble with both the local police and the Dartmouth
>     Perhaps several months before this incident there had been another
incident (I forget just what it was), and the very popular dean (IIRC, his
name was Thaddeus Seymour) called a meeting of the entire freshman class to
provide us some fatherly and administrative advice as to what was
appropriate behavior and what could happen administratively if we violated
those sage rules.  His talk to us was a highlight of the year.
>     Now, with the trousers-dropping incident having occurred, another
meeting was called.  I'm not sure who called it, but the person who
addressed us was one of the student leaders, and this meeting was but a
pale imitation of the boffo performance put on earlier by the dean.  In any
case, I clearly recall the student leader starting off the meeting by
saying what everyone already knew, viz, that several Dartmouth students had
gone to such-and-such college and "dropped trou."  He absolutely,
positively used that expression.  This could have been the fall of 1959,
but more likely it was the spring of 1960.
> Gerald Cohen
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Benjamin Zimmer
> Sent: Mon 12/25/2006 11:45 PM
> Subject: Re: trou (1970)
> 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 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.
> Here's an antedating for "drop trou", in an article quoting a streaker
> at the Naval Academy:
> 1974 _Evening Capital_ (Annapolis, Md.) 16 mar. 1/5 I just 'dropped
> trou' (took off his clothes) at Smoke Hall and ran right past the
> Office of the Day, through the mess hall and out the other end.
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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