Posted by ESC on March 20, 2005
In Reply to: Bum rap posted by ESC on March 20, 2005
: : My puestion has to do with the origanal usage date and origin. I belive it has to do with the false charges brought against vagrants & the homless to get them off the streets for the night, but I have no proof. can any of you shed light on this subject?
: Here's what it says in the archives:
: Dictionary of American Slang, 1960, has "an instance of being identified, arrested, charged, tried, sentenced, punished, or placed in prison as a lawbreaker" as one meaning of "rap"; origin probably in 1920s. Meanings of "bum" include "false, untrue; inaccurate, unreliable."
This reference lists "bum rap" under "bummer" from the German "Bummler, loafer, from bummeln, to waste time." Bum rap, a false charge, 1927. From I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).