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Posted by Smokey Stover on September 22, 2005

In Reply to: Wolf-whistle posted by ESC on September 22, 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" 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

: Tex Avery site

It's not easy--perhaps not possible--to notate the wolf-whistle, but anyone who knows how to whistle can probably demonstrate. There's only a little variation between one person's wolf-whistle and another persons. It's true that the first note ascends, by means of a sort of glissando (glide). The second note repeats the glissando upwards, possibly a little shortened, to the same pitch as the first note, then descends by means of a slightly more drawn-out glissando, to approximately the low point from which the first glissando sprang. I don't think there's any suggestion of wolf-hunger. The wolf in question is only a human wolf, that is, a hunter of females, and this is HIS whistle, not that of a wild canid. (More that of a sly hominid.) SS