U.S. EnglishShow more Transferred use of U.S. English ducktail, denoting a man’s hairstyle.
obs. except in historical contexts
During the 1950s and 1960s: a young white male (often a member of a gang) who sported a ‘ducktail’ hairstyle and adopted a characteristic style of dress, usually a leather jacket, narrow trousers, and pointed shoes; duckienoun1 sense b. Also attributive, and occasionally figurative.See also sheila sense 2. Cf. tsotsi sense 1.
Regarded by many as equivalent to the British ‘teddy-boy’.
1956Rand Daily Mail 21 Dec. 6A man who admitted picking up a police constable and throwing him to the ground, said in the..Magistrate’s Court..that because he was a former ducktail, trying to reform, the world ‘had it in for him’.
1964H.W.D. MansonPat Mulholland’s Day 73Immediately after Mulholland enters the pub door,..three young men, dressed in the ducktail fashion, enter from the left.
1973Cape Times 13 Oct. 12Also classifiable, perhaps, as ‘fauna’ is that now almost extinct species — the ducktail...‘South African for a young hooligan or “Teddy Boy”’.
1977P.C. VenterSoweto 62Tsotsis, those black fossils of the ducktail era who indulge in anything from petty larceny to grand theft to keep them from doing honest work.
1977C. Hope inS. GrayTheatre Two (1981) 61The ducktail accent and delivery, A rapid, staccato delivery, sometimes accompanied by a nasal twang, achieved by using the front of the mouth, the area just behind the teeth.
1983A. Goldstuck inFrontline Oct. 58The excitement — ‘the vibe’ — has gone out of Springs and the ducktail has turned 40 and drifted away.
1990R. GoolCape Town Coolie 156A firm of Afrikaner Nationalists..were assembling an armed mob of ducktails or European hooligans to move in if any demonstration against rent increases occurred.
1991Sunday Times 26 May (Mag. Sect.) 14The café owners were terrorised by gangs of ducktails back then.
a young white male (often a member of a gang) who sported a ‘ducktail’ hairstyle and adopted a characteristic style of dress, usually a leather jacket, narrow trousers, and pointed shoes; duckienounb. Also attributive, and occasionally figurative.
Hence ducktailismnoun, ducktail behaviour or norms.
1983A. Goldstuck inFrontline Oct. 61Ducktailism doesn’t work anymore. Its midwives, Elvis Presley and James Dean, are dead. Its high priests, the Rolling Stones, are safe and acceptable today.
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