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Charlie Boy

Posted by Baceseras on February 18, 2008 at 17:24:

In Reply to: Charlie Boy posted by ESC on February 18, 2008 at 17:08:

: : What is the meaning of the euphemism: "Charlie boy?"
: : In a 1907 University of Nebraska yearbook, it was said of a graduating senior, "Roy Dwyer. He might be called a 'Charley Boy' or 'Mother's Pet,' if we did not know him." In the 1960s it was said of Roy, since deceases, that he had effeminate mannerisms. I am curious to learn whether the term "Charlie Boy" had particular meaning in 1907 culture and language. Can anyone help me with this? I'm wide open to insights to my grandfather.

: There are several entries in various reference books for "Charley." It meant a man with a moustache from 1900-19 and, in the 1920s, an Army chaplain (as in Charlie Chaplin). It also can mean a generic name for a guy and a term for cocaine. No dates on those uses. In one reference there are two entries for charlie-boy. A soft or effeminate young man and to work as a busboy (as in Asian, Charlie Chan), 1974. "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994. Page 380-381.

The connection to effeminacy could either originate or be reinforced in the popular stage-play "Charley's Aunt", first produced in London in 1892 and moving to Broadway the following year. It concerned a couple of Oxford undergraduates who needed a chaperone to keep a meeting with some girls, so they enlisted a friend to dress up as the titular Aunt.