By Kenneth Hudson
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath
Bins. Glasses, spectacles. This abbreviation of 'binoculars', not found in the USA, has been popular since the 1960s among British schoolchildren and older teenagers who have left school. It is rarely used by people over the age of 25 and, even then, almost exclusively by journalists, as in 'Ian Page's near-secret, near-sighted bins' (Sounds, 1 Dec1979). Biog. History, biography. The abbreviation, of very recent origin, is virtually confined to journalists and public relations people, usually with the implication that the work in question is a run-of-the-mill affair and not to be taken terribly seriously.
A rocker, greaser, literally someone who rides a motorbike. The implication is always that the person in question is not one of society's more respectable or peaceful members - 'The bikers were there in force' (New Society, 24 May 1979)- and the word is much more likely to be used about the bikers than by the bikers themselves. Very much a British usage. Bill. The police, a more widely heard euphemism being 'the old Bill'. During World War I 'Old Bill' was a veteran, an old soldier, who was usually depicted with heavy, drooping whiskers.
Breadless. Penniless, without money to buy bread. The word and the basic meaning have existed in English since the 14th century, but it has gained much wider currency in recent years with the popularity of the word BREAD. Nowadays, for this reason, it has a different flavour from the one which belonged to it for the first six centuries of its life. 'The breadless are the nastiest and most primitive beings in the city' (Home Grown, No. 2, 1977) conveys the modern, not the medieval or Victorian shade of meaning.