[Ads-l] Teddy (undergarment), Teddy Bear (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Mon Jan 25 19:31:24 UTC 2016


For Teddy (undergarment) OED has 1924, with note "perhaps transf. use of sense 1" 
(sense 1 is "Teddy bear", the stuffed animal doll).

I believe the note is almost certainly true; consider:

_The Whitewright [TX] Sun_ 2 Feb 1912 p 4 col 2 [display ad, newspapers.com]
"Table Display.  Dainty corset covers, "Teddy Bear" combinations, drawers,
skirts, gowns, and chemises, in wonderful variety, 3.50 and 3.75 garments, now
only . . . . . . .  $2.75"

_Houston Daily Post_ 26 Jul 1914 p 14 col 4 [display ad, newspapers.com]
"Silk and Muslin Underwear 
. . . . 
Seco Silk Teddy Bear Combinations, Drawers and Bloomers, all  . . . . . . . . $1.45"

_St. Louis Post-Dispatch_ 7 Oct 1914 p 6 col 5 [display ad, newspapers.com]
"The "Teddy Bear" Combination is one of the most popular garments in vogue and plays
a prominent part in the wardrobe of the well-gowned woman.  It is universally liked
because it is made in one piece and serves in place of a corset cover and drawers."

_Junction City [KS] Daily Union_ 23 Dec 1915 p 6 col 1 [display adv, newspapers.com]
"Kayser Silk Underwear 
. . .  .
Kayser Silk Teddies  . . . . $2.50 to $4.50"

Under the entry for "Teddy Bear" is sense 4, "= TEDDY n. 3", that is, the undergarment, 
with a date of 1978.

For the stuffed animal "Teddy Bear," OED has 22 Sept 1906.  Note that the etymology of 
the toy "Teddy Bear" doesn't match the general origin of the toy itself, as is found in 
Wikipedia.  But the late appearance of "Teddy Bear" (1906, rather than the date of the
hunting trip in 1902) tends to support the OED explanation.

_Washington Post_ 15 Feb 1906 p 7 col 3  [display ad, newspapers.com]
"Attention is called to a new invoice of the popular "Teddy Bear."  The demand for this
toy at Christmas exceeded our stock on hand, and we ordered another lot, which we
have just received."

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

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