flaming gay?

ferrets's picture

were did that term come from? i mean, your not any gayer if ur on fire or not. so wats ur theario on this strange, straight term?


jeff's picture

Not sure...

My gut instinct is to think back to when homosexuals were burned alive for being gay, though. It all probably comes from that.

Faggot is a bundle of sticks, so makes sense that flaming would possibly have that same origin. Total guess on my part.

"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis

ferrets's picture

that would make sense

a ferrets is a ferret, no matter how much it seems like a weasel. if only i could say the same for people.

blauerfrosch's picture

I agree-

Homosexuality was a sign of witchcraft, so gays were burned during the Salem Witch Trials. They had to gather their own wood with which they were to burn... Calling a homosexual a "faggot" was to say that they were no better than the wood that they were burning with.

Makes sense to assume that "flaming" would be used to describe someone who was obviously gay, because they were easily picked out, as those who were/ were going to burn?

If that made any sense... I'm sick, I can't think right. xD

Riku's picture


They didn't burn anyone during the Salem Witch Trials. I'm fairly certain all of the witch -burning- went on in Europe. I don't know which parts of Europe though.

But, in Salem they hung people... They didn't burn them.

Lol-taire's picture

That's a false etymology

That's a false etymology actually.

'Faggot' to mean homosexual didn't come into usage until the early 20th century, so for it to be referencing witchtrials etc several centuries earlier is very unlikely. The true origins are obscure.

Homosexuals in England were hanged anyway. On the Continent they may have been burnt at the stake, but then that probably wouldn't influence spoken English, would it?

I'd imagine 'flaming' has more to do with 'flamboyant' than being set alight.

jeff's picture


How do you know flaming came from flamboyant and not the other way around?

"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis

Lol-taire's picture

It almost did. Internet

It almost did. Internet tells me flamboyant is a 16th cenutry architectural term, meaning flame like curves.

'flaming' itself isn't derrived from 'flamboyant'.


flame (n.) Look up flame at Dictionary.com
c.1340, from Anglo-Fr. flaume, from O.Fr. flamme, from L. flammula "small flame," dim. of flamma "flame," from PIE *bhleg-/*phleg-. The meaning "a sweetheart" is attested from 1647; the fig sense of "burning passion" was in M.E. The verb is M.E. flamen, from O.Fr. flamer; the verb sense of "unleash invective on a computer network" is from 1980s. Flamer, flaming "glaringly homosexual" are homosexual slang from 1970s, but flamer "glaringly conspicuous person or thing" (1809) and flaming "glaringly conspicuous" (1781) are much earlier in the general sense, both originally with reference to "wenches." Flaming as an intensifying adj. dates from late 19c. Flame-thrower (1917) translates Ger. flammenwerfer (1915).
flamboyant Look up flamboyant at Dictionary.com
1832, first used of a 15c.-16c. architectural style with flame-like curves, from Fr. flamboyant "flaming, wavy," prp. of flamboyer "to flame," from O.Fr. flamboier, from flambe "flame." Extended sense of "showy, ornate" is 1879.

music is life's picture

I think cigarettes have been

I think cigarettes have been called fags too.
I've heard "gay as a $2 bill" before and I don't get that one but whatever.

Riku's picture

Funny, I've heard "queer as

Funny, I've heard "queer as a $2 bill" which makes more sense, since queer used to mean odd or unusual.

Actually, I almost got myself in trouble because I didn't know it was used to mean gay back in middle school.

jeff's picture


I think it's actually "Queer as a $3 bill," as there actually were two dollar bills. And I think the $3 was more of a counterfeiting reference than it just being odd or strange.

Yahoo concurs.

"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis

Riku's picture

Pshhh. I thought it sounded


I thought it sounded a bit off.

Lol-taire's picture

Cigarettes are fags,

Cigarettes are fags, definately. Which probably is a reference to burning.
If I hear 'fag' I think cigarette, before I'd think 'faggot'.