Movie poster for Lolita

A slang for glasses that has shifted in meaning so many times that it unfortunately has become useless.  I cam across it in David Fears’s noire novelette Dark Blonde.  In the 1920s, the term was slang for sunglasses, which was how Fears used it, but the history of the word’s use renders it meaningless.

The word started as slang for glasses — one cheats by using glasses to improve one’s vision.  Sun cheaters became synonymous with sunglasses, and by the 1920s, the “sun” was dropped and it just became cheaters.

Now, however, the term has reverted more to its original meaning, and the term is used for non-prescription reading glasses, that help you “cheat” while reading.

The word can conjure up a noirish moll or that same woman seventy years later reading the funnies.  Oh well.


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