Police By Many Names

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Tom Locke, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Doing a cryptic crossword this morning produced a word I'd never heard before. More correctly, a word I was well aware of, but not in the context given. The definition was "police" and the answer "beasts." It led me to start thinking about the names and terms we use for the police. No doubt there are many variations across different countries. Here are a few that we use in Britain.

    Beasts
    Rozzers
    Peelers
    Bobbies
    Coppers
    Filth
    Pigs
    Plod
    Fuzz
    Old Bill
    Scuffers

    Rozzers, peelers and bobbies are derived from Sir Robert Peel, who founded the Metropolitan Police in London in 1829. Filth and pigs are, fairly obviously, terms of insult. Coppers probably emanates from cop/capture. Plod is a reference to PC Plod, a character in the Noddy books of Enid Blyton. Scuffers is a term more common to the Merseyside area of England, around Liverpool, and probably relates to policemen on the beat and their footwear. Fuzz may be a corruption of the word force. Nobody really seems to know where Old Bill comes from.

    I'd be interested to hear of any other words, particularly the more archaic terms.
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Flatfoot

    I've also heard PoPo here by young people.
     
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  3. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Gumshoe
    Smokey (the bear)
     
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  4. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Cop = Corporal on Patrol.
     
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  5. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    While etymology is often an inexact science, I'm always very dubious about acronyms. These are usually contrived long after a word comes into existence (for example, the idea that "posh" comes from "port out, starboard home" is just plain wrong). Cop in the sense of ‘capture’ or ‘catch’ is first recorded in 1704. It seems more like to emanate from the Latin capere, meaning, to grab or apprehend.
     
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  6. Alan Long

    Alan Long Active Member
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    The Five-O
     
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  7. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I have a name that I like to use, that I like to think is original. "Polish Ice Co."
    [​IMG]

     
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  8. Tessa McCabe

    Tessa McCabe Well-Known Member
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    The "Dibbles" used after Officer Dibble in Top Cat cartoons.
     
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  9. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    "Long Arm of the Law" is one
    …and if I get pulled over I wink and call him "Sugar"…works like a charm :)
     
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  10. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    Sir or ma'am (with hopes of winning points):D

    Officer (with hopes of winning points):D

    Fool (don't care either way):eek:
     
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  11. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    Troopers. Marshals. Bears. Donut Patrol. Hun (Biggles adventures).

    On a serious note, in our day, our police law-enforcers look after our community's security. We need to support them 100%. They are in the front-lines protecting us and making sure that people obey the law.
    Police lives matter, don't you agree?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  12. Janice Martin

    Janice Martin Well-Known Member
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    A long time ago, I heard some took the 'bad word' used by hippies etc., and presented it to stand for:
    Pride
    Integrity
    Guts.

    Many don't live up to that, but then, many do.
     
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  13. Janice Martin

    Janice Martin Well-Known Member
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    I heard it stood for Constable on Patrol.
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I think it is short for Copper.
     
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  15. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I was reminded of another word by a Scouser (someone from Liverpool) the other day: bizzies.

    The term comes from 'busy' in the sense of inquisitive or prying.
     
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  16. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Back in the early 70's, my old VW broke down within walking distance to the police station. I walked in to ask if they would call home for me. On the wall above the desk was a sign:

    "If you think cops are pigs, the next time you need help,
    Call a hippie"
     
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  17. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  18. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Hilarious!
     
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  19. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    I know the the name have changed over the years but when I was a child it was Sir
    Yes sir, no sir there was a great deal of respect for the local officer who would walk you home if you were lost.
     
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