June 04, 2015

Tramp • Tart • Trollop

Oh, dirty etymology. Wherefore art thou? It has been weeks since I last delved into my dirty word obsession. Thankfully, Trixie Delicious jumpstarted my brain this morning with her fabulous Tramp, Tart, Trollop set, which led me to the following baffling query:

How could I have waited this long to research Trollop?

My first leap into looking up the word led to this unhelpful response: "Origin uncertain; apparently connected with troll." Really? Troll?

The second foray was more fruitful. I learned that the word dates to the early 1600s and refers to a "slovenly woman, often with implications of moral looseness." Pause while we savor that statement together: "moral looseness."

The reference listed was equally delightful, describing a fight in a church between two women—one who called the other a "Tripe & Trallop." (This dates to 1682.)

Definitions of "trollop" include "an immoral or promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute." With a synonym given (another one of my all-time favorites): slattern.

Recently, I found that Mickey Spillane's Me, Hood! includes: "Tonight's Saturday night, kid. We're going dancing." A puzzled frown creased her forehead. "You'll need a costume for the act, sugar. Where we'll be you'll want the West Side trollop look. Think you can make it?"

He continues, describing what a West Side trollop look entails: "First you can go out and buy some clothes. Cheap and flashy. Get perfume and accessories to match and if you can get the stuff secondhand, do that."

Searching out first use in literature was troubling because of the author Anthony Trollope. So instead, I'll explain where I got my moniker: Trollop with a Laptop. I was honored to be interviewed several years ago (oh, my gosh—more like 11 years ago!) by the East Bay Express. The journalist described me this way, and when I needed a name for the blog, I remembered the phrase.

I'm particularly proud of that interview, actually. Pre-FSOG, there wasn't a lot of light shined on the sexy genre. I appreciated the ink, and I stand by my statements now that I made then: "I won't feel I'm a better person if I tell people I write erotica than if I tell people I write smut."


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