Posted by ESC on September 22, 2005

In Reply to: Wolf-whistle posted by Jonathan Smith on September 21, 2005

: Can anyone tell me where the "wolf-whistle" came from?

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 www.imagesjournal.com/ issue06/features/texavery3.htm

Tex Avery site