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It's funny where you sometimes find word-related articles. A friend posted this one about old gangster slang we use today on Facebook. What do you all think?


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I don't see where they get the idea that "flaky" used to mean "addicted to cocaine".
 
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"flaky" used to mean "addicted to cocaine".

If it did, it left no impact in literature or history. The OED3 (online) cites usage in the literal sense starting in the early 17th century; the crazy, unreliable sense starting in 1974, and it seems to be baseball slang to begin with. When talking about cocaine in the first half of the last century, people talked about cocaine as a powder.


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Flake is one of the street names for cocaine, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the TAG Law Enforcement Task Force (Ohio, USA}. The TAG Law Enforcement Task Force site also shows a picture of flake cocaine.

Online Etymology Dictionary:

flaky

1570s, from flake + -y (2). Meaning "eccentric, crazy" first recorded 1959, said to be Amer.Eng. baseball slang, but probably from earlier druggie slang flake "cocaine" (1920s). Flake "eccentric person" is a 1968 back-formation from it.

The term 'flake' needs explanation. It's an insider's word, used throughout baseball, usually as an adjective; someone is considered 'flaky.' It does not mean anything so crude as 'crazy,' but it's well beyond 'screwball' and far off to the side of 'eccentric.' ["New York Times," April 26, 1964]
 
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Thanks tinman! But I still don't see anything about "flaky" meaning "addicted to cocaine".
 
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No, but I thought it was obvious that if flake could mean cocaine, then flaky could mean addicted to cocaine. But I guess not. I did a little more digging and came up with two books: The A-Z Encyclopedia of Alcohol and Drug Abuse by Thomas Nordegren, 2002, and McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions, 4th edition, by Richard A. Spears, Ph.D., 2005:

Thomas Nordegren is a Swedish journalist and author, and Richard Spears is a former reference editor and linguistics professor at Northwestern University.

The A-Z Encyclopedia of Alcohol and Drug Abuse,by Thomas Nordegren, 2002, p. 293:

quote:
Flaky: 1. Colloquial term for being mentally disturbed after prolong use of drugs.
2. Colloquial term for being addicted.

McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions, 4th edition, by Richard A. Spears, Ph.D., 2005: pp. 121, 472:

quote:
flaky 2. mod. habituated to the use of cocaine (Drugs.)

cocaine addicted candied * flaky * nose habit

(American Slang Dictionary, Fourth Edition, by Richard Spears, 2006, is apparently a paperback version of the above book with a different title ... and a cheaper price.)

Dictionary.com:

quote:


Slang Dictionary

flaky definition

[ˈfleki]
  • 1. mod.
    unreliable. : I'm getting so flaky. Must be old age.
  • 2. mod.
    habituated to the use of cocaine. (Drugs.) : He looks a little flaky. Look at his eyes and nose.
  • 3.mod.
    and flako. [ˈfleko] alcohol intoxicated. : Paul was flaky and couldn't drive. , Man is he flako!


Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw Hill.


I've also seen this table of drug terms on several sites.

By the way, what does mod. mean?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: tinman,
 
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quote:
By the way, what does mod. mean?

At a guess, "modern".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
No, but I thought it was obvious that if flake could mean cocaine, then flaky could mean addicted to cocaine.


Sure it could mean that, but we need evidence!

quote:
I did a little more digging and came up with two books: The A-Z Encyclopedia of Alcohol and Drug Abuse by Thomas Nordegren, 2002, and McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions, 4th edition, by Richard A. Spears, Ph.D., 2005:


And there's the evidence. Thanks!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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