American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An inflatable, vestlike life preserver.
- n. Nickname for a type of life jacket used by Allied forces in World War II having an inflatable rubber bag on the chest of the wearer.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An inflatable life jacket, originally used as a personal flotation device by aviators downed at sea.
- n. United States film actress (1892-1980)
- n. an inflatable life jacket
- Named after the actress and sex symbol Mae West, who was well known during the war. The inflatable front was taken to be like her busty figure. (Wiktionary)
- After Mae West (from its resemblance to her curvaceous torso). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“She went right into her jolly fat-lady act, turning up the Kentucky accent and carrying on like Mae West and, though I understood why she was doing this, I suddenly saw her through his eyes, and wished he could see the Maybelle I knew, the one who had introduced me to the Brontës and Jane Austen, and who believed that Elizabeth Bennett had thrown herself away on stodgy Darcy.”
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