phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Wolf whistle

Posted by ESC on April 13, 2002

In Reply to: Wolf whistle posted by ESC on April 13, 2002

: : where has "wolf whistle" come from as a cant whistle.

WOLF WHISTLE - "A whistle made by a male at the sight of a female, expressing sexual admiration. It usually consists of two notes, one rising, the other descending. The name implies that the male is 'hungry,' like a wolf." From the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition). "'wolf whistle' (late 1930s).'wolf', a woman chaser, 1940s, especially common during World War II. Around World War I a 'wolf' had meant a male homosexual, then in the 1930s 'to wolf' meant to try to try to seduce a woman." From I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). The wolf whistle is used by Wolfie (I don't know his "real" name) in Tex Avery cartoons like "Swing Shift Cinderella." There are several Tex Avery sites online including issue06/features/texavery3.htm