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zipper "fly?" #73580
06/19/02 10:18 PM
06/19/02 10:18 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 1
Florida
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porfavor Offline OP
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porfavor  Offline OP
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I have always wondered how a zipper on a pair of pants (or trousers) came to be called a "fly."


Re: zipper "fly?" #73581
06/19/02 10:47 PM
06/19/02 10:47 PM
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wwh Offline
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Dear porfavor: The word "fly" for fold of cloth for closure of trousers originated long before
zippers were invented. My trousers had buttons until I was in highschool. The zipper is a wonderful
invention. Here is part of AHD about fly, pl flies. Note def. 2, sqq.:

1. The act of flying; flight. 2a. A fold of cloth that covers a fastening of a
garment, especially one on the front of trousers. b. The fastening or opening
covered by such a fold. 3. A flap that covers an entrance or forms a rooflike
extension for a tent or the canopy of a vehicle. 4. A flyleaf. 5. Baseball A fly
ball. 6a. The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge. b. The outer edge
of a flag. 7. A flywheel. 8. flies The area directly over the stage of a theater,
containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering
sets. 9. Chiefly British A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.


Re: zipper "fly?" #73582
06/20/02 03:12 AM
06/20/02 03:12 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
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Eastern Ontario, Canada
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modestgoddess Offline
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Hi porfavor, welcome to AWADtalk!

wwh is right - that opening in the trousers was called a fly long before the zipper came along. In fact, it was called "flies" - eg, "your flies are undone" - and I suspect, thought I'm guessing here, that the expression arose from the fact that the flap was done up with buttons, which perhaps were equated with actual flies (of the insect variety) because of their size....

Anyone like to correct me on this? is it just me being wildly creative or is there a grain of truth in what I say?

Let us go in peace to love and serve the board.

Re: zipper "fly?" #73583
06/26/02 01:40 AM
06/26/02 01:40 AM
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Keiva Offline
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The word "fly" for fold of cloth for closure of trousers originated long before zippers were invented.

Indeed so, as confirmed by an old limerick:
.....There was a young girl of Darjeeling
.....Who could dance with such exquisite feeling
.....Not a murmur was heard,
.....Not a sound not a word,
.....Save the fly-buttons hitting the ceiling.


The zipper was first exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, but it was largely ignored and impractical. (The postal service ordered a few zipper mail bags, but the zippers jammed so frequently that the bags were discarded.) The U.S. Army used an improved zipper design on clothing and equipment during World War I. At the time the zipper was principally a closure for boots, given the manufacturing difficulty of producing a functional zipper small enough for use on other clothing. It did not became a common clothing fastener until the late 1920's, and in 1935 became a fashion craze, with clothing decorated with zippers that were colorful, decorative and completely non-functional.

Whence the word zipper? In 1923 B. F. Goodrich Company (now a major producer of tires) came out with rubber galoshes with a zipper closure. Mr. Goodrich himself coined the word zipper as an echoic name, from the zip sound the zippers made.

Re: zipper "fly?" #73584
06/26/02 01:43 AM
06/26/02 01:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
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Eastern Ontario, Canada
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modestgoddess Offline
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Go away, Keiva. You are not welcome here.

Let us go in peace to love and serve the board.

the limerick doesn fly #73585
06/26/02 02:31 AM
06/26/02 02:31 AM
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Posts: 5,400
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of troy Offline
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trick 6- the sexual slur

Indeed so, as confirmed by an old limerick:
.....There was a young girl of Darjeeling


Amazing how many bawdy limericks you know.. and how compelled you are to post them .

Oh, i know, you claim but its a word related post.. and the history of zippers might have a purpose.. but the limerick? just another dig, nothing to do about words. you really have a pathological need to put women down, don't you?
well, we know your tricks, we know how you were banned and forced you way back.
Go away. You, and your constant demeaning remarks about women are not wanted.


Re: the limerick doesn fly #73586
06/26/02 01:05 PM
06/26/02 01:05 PM
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wwh Offline
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Keiva: you are unwelcome in AWADtalk.


Re: zipper "fly?" #73587
06/27/02 09:23 AM
06/27/02 09:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,346
Sussex, England
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FishonaBike Offline
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FishonaBike  Offline
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Sussex, England
A flap that covers an entrance or forms a rooflike
extension for a tent or the canopy of a vehicle


Hmmm, I'd always thought a "flysheet" was so-named because it kept of flies . Which wouldn't be a very healthy association in the current context.

Now I can see that what most of the pertinent definitions have in common is that one bit of material/cloth lies (or flies) over other bits of material/cloth.

So thank you, I've learned something today







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