Words: floosie, n.

Click to follow
DURING THE Thirties, that elegant and modest American artist Paul Cadmus repeatedly fell foul of the American navy, such was his propensity - while working on morale-building government programmes - for depicting its men in louche circumstances. Sailors and Floosies (1938) is more restrained than some: three tars on the town are drunk, powerless to satisfy the painted women who loll above them.

Floosie's origins are obscure, perhaps from the Old French flosche, for velvet, hence floss(y), which in America meant a young woman or saucy. By this century immodesty had the upper hand, and the senses merged, although Lincoln Kirstein notes a theory that Floosie was the name of a celebrated madam at a brothel in Sacramento or San Francisco.