phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Light in the loafers

Posted by Masakim on July 11, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Light in the loafers posted by ESC on July 11, 2003

: : Does anybody know the origin of the saying "Light in the loafers"?

: Here's what I found. I thought it had to do with the stereotype of a gay man mincing around. But the first reference here talks about the original use of the word "light."

: LIGHT IN THE LOAFERS - "light-footed - pertaining to a homosexual male. Cf. 'light' (sense 1). Light on his feet. (U.S. slang, 1900s.) light - 1. lewd; wanton (numerous writings attest since the 1300s)."
: From "Slang and Euphemism: A Dictionary of Oaths, Curses, Insults, Ethnic Slurs, Sexual Slang and Metaphor, Drug Talk, College Lingo and Related Matters" by Richard A. Spears (New American Library, Penguin Putnam, New York, Third Edition, 2001).

: light in the loafers - or light on one's feet - (of men) effeminate or homosexual. 1967 DAS (Dictionary of American Speech)(Supp.) Lightfooted.Homosexual. Fairly common since c1955."
: From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O, by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1997."

A variant:
*light on his toes* homosexual.
Of a male, from the mincing manner of walking adopted by some:
Your assistant in the theatre, sir, your dresser, he's a bit light on his toes as well isn't he? (Monkhouse, 1993 -- a policeman was enquiring about sexual activity which appeared to involve homosexuality, bestiality, pornography, and prostitution)
From _A Dictionary of Euphemisms_ by R.W. Holder (Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 1995)