Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 16:13:53 -0400
From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM
Subject: Re: Rat=Freshman; Football Terms
Alan Baragona wrote:
At 09:09 AM 8/28/97 -0400, Jesse T Sheidlower wrote:
1863 in Stanard Letters 9: I felt quite lonesome, there being
only a few Rats left as a guard.
[in reference to VMI]
The earliest written use of "Rat" for "freshman" at VMI is in the 1896
yearbook, _The Bomb_, but it may have been in use for some 20 or 30 years
before that. According to William Couper's _One Hundred Years at V. M. I.
(1939), freshmen were called "plebes" into the early 1860's. Some time in
the 60's, the terminology changed, presumably to "Rat."
So VMI did not start it. :-(
Well, while VMI did not start it, the actual earliest written
use for a VMI freshman is that 1863 quote I posted above.
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com