While trudging through my steps today, listening to A Way With Words and a caller asked about the etymology of “grassing” in the British sense of informing on someone else. One of those fascinating bits of slang that derives indirectly from a rhyme (something the Brits seem particularly fond of) in this sequence:
- To inform on someone was to “shop” them out.
- To shop is to be a “shopper.”
- The slang rhyme becomes “grasshopper”
- Thus we have to “grass” someone out.
Though, in my “research” (aka quick Googling) there is a competing—or possibly collaborative—theory about the rhyme that “grasshopper” arose because of the rhyme with “copper” (who one would grass to).
I love that kind of thing.
Also, if you don’t listen to A Way With Words, you should. That is all.