RE: Re: RARA-AVIS: Bird, not Parker

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 17 Apr 2002

Well, when Chas. Addams was using "chicks" in the '40s or '50s, his cartoons' father (tagged Gomez for the television series and subsequent movies) would refer to the offspring as "chicks," so the same sort of shift as "baby" for one's lover may've been in play on this side of the Atlantic.

"Bird," on the other hand, for a woman, seems to be a Britishism, heard over here in imported Angry Young Kitchen Sink films and such, that I suspect is unconnected even if parallel to the USism "chick." TM

-----Original Message----- From: Graham Powell [mailto:]

>I've been told that "bird" as a slang expression for
>females derives from the American colloquialism
>"chick," in the same way that "bread" for money
>derived from "dough." Any truth in this?

I really think it's the other way 'round. I can't find my copy of Hugh Rawson's DICTIONARY OF EUPHEMISMS, a great and hilarious book, so I can't be

sure. BTW, there's a line from "Polythyne Pam" (sp?) where John sings,
"It's a little absurd, but she's a nice lot of bird..." So it was current in the late 60s at least.

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