de-pantsing (1930), pantsing (1931)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Jul 11 02:06:27 UTC 2012

Forrest Wickman has a Slate Explainer about "pantsing" -- formerly
called "debagging" or "depantsing":

I supplied him with some cites from Genealogybank that antedate the OED entries:

* de(-)pants, v. (OED3 1939)

1930  _Tampa Morning Tribune_ 4 Feb. 8/4 Depantsing an Officer. Mrs.
Anna Rubenstein of 408 Harrison avenue, South End, paid an aggregate
fine of $245, of which part was for tearing the trousers off of
Officer Arthur D. Timmins. [reprinted from Boston Dispatch]

1930 _Rockford (Ill.) Daily Republic_ 21 Feb. 1/8 With the arrest of
Miss Lois Cohen, 18, and her companion, Francis Hoffman, who have
admitted 40 robberies of filling stations, police said today they
believed they had the pair who has been "de-pantsing" taxicab drivers.

* pants, vbl. n. (OED3 1943)

1931 _Riverside (Calif.) Daily Press_ 11 June 6/2 "Pantsing" was
declared as a weapon of defense and offense. To have one's pants taken
off or ripped off is the deadliest insult an opponent could suffer,
and many were insulted more than once last night.

* pants, v.  (OED3 1972)

1931 _Riverside (Calif.) Daily Press_ 11 June 6/3 One battle yell was
used by both sides and it struck terror into those against whom it was
hurled -- "Pants 'em."


Ben Zimmer

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