Re - RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled

Date: 07 Feb 2000

Brian Lawrence askes where the term "hard-boiled" came form.

I don't expect this to be the last word, but Donald Westlake, in a talk given at Bouchercon some years ago, suggested that the first time hard-boiled was used as a synomnym for tough was areound the time the US entered WW1. It was used to describe the tough, harsh professional non-coms who trained recruits in boot camp, turning them from citizens into citizen-soldiers.

Westalake further suggested that "dick," as a slang expression for detectives, came from Canadians who smuggled hooch into the US during Prohibition. Put 'em together and you've got "hard-boiled dicks."


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