Discussion:
How and why did the term "little shaver" come to denote a young little Male?
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b***@gmail.com
2017-12-06 19:34:32 UTC
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How did something associated with removing or shaving male hair and beard come to dennote a young child, infant or toddler? Or is "shaving" more a reference to carpentry and chip off the old block than male grooming with a razor?

Or will genenetics testing and 'little shaver' portend the furure of human cloning with little more than some stubble?
Richard Tobin
2017-12-06 20:29:57 UTC
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Post by b***@gmail.com
How did something associated with removing or shaving male hair and
beard come to dennote a young child, infant or toddler?
It doesn't. It means a youth who has only recently started to shave.
Through exaggeration and humour it may sometimes be applied to someone
younger.

-- Richard
Ross
2017-12-06 22:44:41 UTC
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Post by Richard Tobin
Post by b***@gmail.com
How did something associated with removing or shaving male hair and
beard come to dennote a young child, infant or toddler?
It doesn't. It means a youth who has only recently started to shave.
Through exaggeration and humour it may sometimes be applied to someone
younger.
-- Richard
Possibly. The literal sense you propose for an origin seems plausible, but
I'm not sure it's actually attested. What we do have from quite early
is (OED):

2a. One who pillages or plunders; an extortioner.

1534 R. Whittington tr. Cicero Thre Bks. Tullyes Offyces iii. sig. T.2
I woll not speke of murderers,..theues, pollers & shauers in this place.

1652 J. Wright tr. J.-P. Camus Nature's Paradox vi. 111 This bred a suspition..that they were some cunning Shavers that intended to surprise them.

1699 B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew Shaver, a Cunning Shaver, a subtil,
smart Fellow.

This seems to lead via generalization to:

3.a. = ‘Fellow’, ‘chap’; also, a humorous fellow, joker, wag.

1592 Marlowe Jew of Malta ii. iii. E Itha... I can cut and shaue.
Bar. Let me see, sirra, are you not an old shauer? Ith. Alas, Sir,
I am a very youth.

Although it co-occurs with "young" and "old" in several of the early
quotes, it does not seem to carry the meaning of youth by itself until

1854 ‘M. Harland’ Alone ix I have known him since I was a shaver.
y***@gmail.com
2017-12-07 04:10:44 UTC
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"When you were a little shaver and went a-tumbling down,
Who kissed the spot to make it wel? Your mother, I'll be bound!"
"Baby your Mother," 1928, Put timeline at 1:50


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