Posted by ESC on December 05, 2002
In Reply to: Brit associates? posted by James Briggs on December 05, 2002
: : : "I myself have too few British associates to have heard the word. "
: : You never heard of anyone taking a prat-fall? it is certainly not unique to American vaudeville, but it may have reached its peak there.
: 'Prat' is well known and commonly used in the UK to describe someone who is being stupid about something - as distinct from someone who may be permanently mentally slow. Origin? I don't know, but it's only been in use in this sense since the 1960s.
Pratfall is used in the U.S., mostly by comics rather than ordinary folks.
I don't have any British associates but I got me books:
PRAT, PRATT - "n. British. 1a backside, buttocks. A word dating from the 16th century or earlier which is currently an inoffensive if rare synonym for bum. b vagina.rare since the 1960s. 2a fool, idiot, buffoon.in vogue in the 1980s. The word denotes extreme foolishness and is deriived in the same way as the synonymous 'arse' or 'twat'." From "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990).