The Language of Traffic Policeman (1962)

The New York Times’ “Schott’s Vocab” column has been running excerpts from the archive of American Speech, published by the American Dialect Society.  This last week, the column excerpted work from Don Dempsey of San Diego State College on the vocabulary of traffic policemen.

Police Cruiser
Police Cruiser / Flickr user davidsonscott15

Some highlighted vocabulary:

  • “American Taxpayer”: A traffic law violator who loudly proclaims immunity because he is paying the policeman’s salary.
  • “Bible”: The California Vehicle Code.
  • “Dipsy-Doodle”: A spinning, swerving, end-for-end skid.
  • “Dreamer”: A motorist who thinks he can outrun a patrol car.
  • “Wolf in the Pack”: A truck drivers’ term meaning that they think a highway patrol car may be among the cars following them at night.

See the full article for more.