Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 16:13:53 -0400 From: Jesse T Sheidlower 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. Jesse Sheidlower