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Hyper-Masculine, Depression Era, Boxing Lingo from Robert E. Howard’s The Pit of the Serpent

“I am the soul of politeness around frails, and never pull no rough stuff.”

-Steve Costigan

Frails: women

Galoot: galoot (ɡəˈluːt) or galloot n slang chiefly US a clumsy or uncouth person [of unknown origin] ga•loot (gəˈlut) n. Slang. an awkward, eccentric, or foolish person.

Bezark: troublemaker

Howthesomever: making consideration of the circumstances while drunk.

Dope: fight lore on a certain boxer, a scouting report

Yeggs: a burglar or safe cracker, early 20th century, unknown origin

Zowie: exclamation of astonishment or amazement

Map or maps: a fighter’s face

Bung: banged up, from the Dutch for clogged

Hokem: nonsense

Bunk: slang for messed up or stupid

Smackers: dollars

I will make it my masculine mission to resurrect the term frails for women, and will not apply it to such willfully womanly creatures as bug-men and sissies.

A Well of Heroes

Add Comment
ShepJanuary 5, 2018 6:41 PM UTC

More on the nomenclature:
Mike_CJanuary 5, 2018 4:34 PM UTC

>"Dame" is probably beyond life-support, though.

Maybe so, but "dame" is actually polite and respectful (being the cognate of "sir") whereas "frail" implies deficiency.

Someone on the web claims to have dated the origin of "frail" for "a female" to 1908—somehow. This same source also suggests that perhaps this came from Shakespeare/Hamlet: "Frailty, thy name is woman."

What's interesting to me is that "frail" may be the original of the term "frill" used for women in Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar (character-driven science fiction) series.
responds:January 6, 2018 12:10 AM UTC

Fascinating, sir.

How about this:




Depending on their robustness?
ShepJanuary 4, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

I think that "frails" would be a noble addition to the anti-wimp lexicon, alongside "soyboy" and "bugman". This needs to happen!
responds:January 5, 2018 5:46 AM UTC

Frails it is, Sir.
Lynn LockhartJanuary 3, 2018 4:56 PM UTC

So glad you are reading Costigan stories!
responds:January 4, 2018 10:30 AM UTC

Howard had more boxing stories than I realized, 17 tales and 3 poems in this collection.
LaManoJanuary 3, 2018 10:12 AM UTC

Thanks to Cab Calloway, many of us never had lost the sense and meaning of "frail" .....

"Folks, here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher

She was a red-hot hoochie-coocher

She was the roughest, toughest frail

But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale ...."

So it's still alive, and CAN be brought back ....

"Dame" is probably beyond life-support, though.