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moll

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moll

Postby eberntson » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:00 pm

moll   

NOUN:
Slang
A woman companion of a gunman or gangster.
A woman prostitute.
ETYMOLOGY:
Probably from the name Moll, nickname for Mary


Actually, checking around it is more likely that the root of the word is Yidish and comes from meaning "thief".

The word in my common experience come in combinations, such as gun moll, and gangster moll.
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns
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Re: moll

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:56 am

eberntson: Where did you get a Yiddish source for Moll? Etymonline's only etymology is from the female name Molly, which is a variation, perhaps Irish, of the name Mary. It appears pretty straightforward to me. I would be glad to consider a Yiddish source but this is the first I have heard of it. I am very familiar with the word, having read and used it many times.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: moll

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:22 pm

The 1913 Webtwer's Unabridged adds another dimension:

Mol"ly, n. A pet or colloquial name for Mary. Molly cottontail. (Zoöl.) See Cottontail. -- Molly Maguire (m&adot;*gw&imac;r"); pl. Molly Maguires (-gw&imac;rz). (a) A member of a secret association formed among the tenantry in Ireland about 1843, principally for the purpose of intimidating law officers and preventing the service of legal writs. Its members disguised themselves in the dress of women. (b) A member of a similar association of Irishmen organized in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, about 1854, for the purpose of intimidating employers and officers of the law, and for avenging themselves by murder on persons obnoxious to them. The society was broken up by criminal prosecutions in 1876.

That might be the direct connection to criminal molls. BTW, I did find the dictionaries refer to Molly as short for Mary, but the Molly's I've known have "Molly" on their birth certificates. I believe there must be enough of them now for it to be a stand-alone name.
pl
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Re: moll

Postby eberntson » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:50 pm

Thus the title "Moll Flanders" I suppose.

E
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns
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Re: moll

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:05 am

Was the present definition of moll, available in Defoe's day? If you want balance "Moll Flanders" with a male counterpart, try “Tom Jones" by Fielding.
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