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August 21, 2003

Slang of the Week: arm candy (noun phrase)
A woman whose main purpose is to be an attractive accessory for her date

Sandy knew that Jack only thought of her as arm candy, but it didn’t bother her, because she only thought of him as a bank account.

Celebrity quote:
“Had she been a bit of arm candy, a bit of decoration at the side of the pharaoh, this surely wouldn’t have happened.”
-Archaeologist Joann Fletcher, explaining why the face of Egyptian queen Nefertiti’s mummy had been damaged by looters

Poor Nefertiti! Considered by many of her contemporaries to be the Hillary Clinton of ancient Egypt (she had just a little too much influence around the palace) the long-necked queen got no respect after her death. But while she was alive, she definitely would have qualified as arm candy in the looks department. This week’s term has several linguistic relatives, including ear candy (good music) and eye candy (an attractive person of either sex).

The idea of calling a woman candy is nothing new - attractive women have historically been given nicknames related to sweets. In the nineteenth century, good looking females were called jelly, because they jiggled when they walked. This word later became a more of a sexual reference, but new food groups were created to represent pretty girls. Tomato (technically a fruit!) and cookie came into vogue in the twenties and later, during the Second World War, cheesecake pictures of cutie pie starlets were painted on combat planes.

What’s new at Slang City?
MOVIES revisits high school with translated quotes from the classic teen angst movie Welcome to the Dollhouse.