cad, you


cad, you
   ‘Cad’ is a short form of ‘caddie’, in the sense of a lad or man who waited about for chance employment. Such boys and men were to be found in the vicinity of public schools, such as Eton, and universities, especially Oxford. The caddies became popularly known as ‘cads’ in public school and university slang. Because they were often those who behaved in an ungentlemanly way, caddish behaviour signified low vulgarity. For a public schoolboy or university student to call one of his fellows a cad was therefore to imply that he was no better than one of the townsmen who did odd jobs. Typical public school usage occurs in Stalky and Co., by Rudyard Kipling, and in Mike, by P.G.Woodhouse. One aspect of caddish behaviour appears to have been the deceiving of innocent women or behaving dishonourably towards them. There is often this implication in ‘you cad’ when applied outside school circles, though such applications will be found in literature rather than life. ‘Cad’ has become a decidedly old-fashioned word, one which would probably arouse amusement rather than dismay in modern times. A reference to it in Laura, by Vera Caspary, however, upsets the heroine:
   ‘I hate that word.’
   Shelby said, ‘It’s a good English word.’
   ‘It’s old-fashioned. It’s out of date. People don’t talk about cads any more. It’s Victorian.’
   ‘A cad is a cad, whether the word is obsolete or not’
   ‘Quit being so Southern.’

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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