Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 09:09:57 -0400

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: Re: Rat=Freshman; Football Terms


Perhaps VMI didn't start this. This is from Scholastic Magazine, Oct.

26-31, 1942, pg. 32, col. 2:

If Richmond beats William and Mary, freshmen may abandon their "rat

caps" for the rest of the year.

Then again, perhaps it did:

1863 in Stanard Letters 9: I felt quite lonesome, there being

only a few Rats left as a guard.

[in reference to VMI]

And in what appears to the the 'freshman' sense, OED2 has an example

from 1850 in Louisiana.

Jesse Sheidlower