George Miller: When I was a child back in the "thirties" this saying was very popular. If you said to a girl, "Charleys dead" it meant that her petticoat or under garment was hanging below her dress or skirt.I never could find out the source of this saying. Iam hoping you can. I really enjoy Word for Word. Is there some way you can let me know whether you can find this?
Terry O'Connor: "Charlie's dead" was also in use in Ireland during the 1950s when I was growing up. I recall that, brash boys that we were, we used to take great pleasure in using it. I can't find the origin, although I'll keep trying. The only possibility I've come across so far is that "Charley", an abbreviation of "Charley Hunt" was for a very long time rhyming slang for a woman's vagina, in the same manner as "Berk", from "Berkshire Hunt". Perhaps as the perceived obscenity of "Charley" died off it became possible to use it in an extended manner to indicate something awry with female underclothing. ??? The usual queue of experts ready to disprove this should form on the left...
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