Posted by ESC on February 22, 2002
In Reply to: Skinny-dipping posted by Ed on February 21, 2002
: I'm writing something and need to know the origin/reason for the term "skinny-dipping" as a reference to nude swimming.
I looked in several references and only found the term in one. Which was surprising since it's a common phrase. Maybe someone else will have more information.
DIPPING - " 'Let's go to the beach' with its image of a sun-drenched, sandy shore,
is a typically American expression -- in England the 16th-century word 'beach'
had originally meant a gravelly shore. In early colonial days, 'beach' referred
specifically to the Hudson River's east bank and the sandy offshore New Jersey
islands. Here one might go 'sea bathing' or 'dipping' (the word is still found
in our expression 'skinny dipping,' swimming 'in the skin,' or naked), terms then
used by refined people and by doctors, who prescribed sea bathing for ailments."