from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inflatable, vestlike life preserver.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • proper n. An inflatable life jacket, originally used as a personal flotation device by aviators downed at sea.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. United States film actress (1892-1980)
  • n. an inflatable life jacket


After Mae West (from its resemblance to her curvaceous torso).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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)


  • 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.

    Dreaming in French


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