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  • OED says "gay cat" is early 20th-century U.S. slang for a young or inexperienced tramp, a hobo who accepts occasional work--"cat" meaning "guy," "fellow," etc. Over time, "gay" had various negative connotations (in addition to many positive ones): forward or impertinent, overfamiliar, dissolute, loose or immoral (it was once applied to female prostitutes, for example). As melliloquence points out, it was also slang for a homosexual boy in the early 20th century: that definition was cited in a 1935 book, Underworld & Prison Slang.

    December 3, 2007

  • ...in the sense of "homosexual".

    So what's the etymology of "geycat"?

    December 2, 2007

  • Early 1900's slang for a male homosexual. Before that it was used to refer to a young tramp, who would often be "adopted" by an older tramp, who would show him the ropes for street living. This is where the word 'gay' is derived from.

    December 2, 2007