Trivia

Hard

Before Surfer Culture Adopted The Word “Dude” It Referred To What?

Well Dressed Men
Bulls
Newspaper Delivery Boys
Fighter Pilots
A portrait of Robert de Montesquiou from the late 19th century.
Giovanni Boldini/Wikimedia

Answer: Well Dressed Men

Ask a modern American-English speaker to pin down where “dude” originated from and they’ll likely guess late 20th-century California surfer culture. Not a bad guess, but a solid century too late.

The word first entered the American-English lexicon in the 1870s and referred to men that dressed very fashionably (with a secondary use to refer to well-dressed urban men who were visiting rural areas and stuck out, what we would now call “city slickers”). In fact, if you’ve ever heard the term “dude ranch” used to refer to a fancier ranch intended for tourists or a hobby ranch owned by a wealthier person, you’re seeing the word in its original use: a dude ranch is a place for well-dressed “city slickers” to go play cowboy.

That usage stuck until the early 1960s when the word was adopted by surfer culture. There, the term dude became synonymous with “guy”—and there was in fact a female version, “dudette”, in use—but by the 1970s, dude become unisex in usage.

Now when someone yells, “That dude is trying to break into your apartment!” they most certainly do not mean, “That very well-dressed gentleman”—although it’s always possible you’re about to be burgled by a man sporting a pocket square and an ascot.

Trivia

Hard

It’s Estimated The Wreck Of The Titanic Will Vanish Within Decades As A Result Of?

Trivia

Very Hard

In The Mid-20th Century, Radioactive Material Was Used Successfully In Which Of These Unlikely Applications?

Trivia

Hard

Opera Once Released An Edition Of Their Browser That Made MSN.com Appear Written By?

Trivia

Hard

Bees Can Detect If Flowers Have Been Recently Visited By Checking?

Trivia

Hard

Under the Famous Louvre Museum You’ll Find A Laboratory Devoted To?

Trivia

Hard

Magic Smoke Is A Tongue-In-Cheek Term For Smoke Produced By?

Trivia

Easy

The Most Common Source Of “Hay Fever” Is?

Trivia

Easy

Which Country Is The Largest Beef Exporter?

Trivia

Easy

Frosted Security Glass Can Be Defeated With What Common Item?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Rock Bands Is Named After An English Agriculturalist?