|Slang City Mail|
|January 29, 2004|
Slang of the
Week: trap (noun)
Growing up, we used to use this word more innocently to mean the mouth, as in “shut your trap!” Trap’s use as a rendezvous for drug sales is new. Even ten years ago, it was more commonly used as a verb for selling drugs.
However, it has long been associated with illegal activities. In the 1930s, a trap was the place gangsters hid their stolen property. By the sixties, trap money was the daily earnings of a prostitute, perhaps from the customers she had "trapped." However, since she was obliged to give this money to her pimp (male manager of prostitutes) she might have looked on it as a reference to the fact that she was trapped in her job.
As for more innocent meanings, two hundred years ago, the mouth was more specifically called the potato-trap. By the mid 1800s, it was romantically known as the kissing trap. Finally, when CB radio was king in the 1970s, drivers used it to warn each other of bear traps (police radar to catch speeders).
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