Light in the Loafers - Meaning, Usage and Origin

The term “light in the loafers” is an idiom that is often used in the English language. What does “light in the loafers” mean? Read on to find out more.

What does “light on the loafers” mean?

When used as an idiom, the term “light in the loafers” is used to describe a male who is perceived to be homosexual or gay. For example, someone may say, “He looks light in the loafers” when they see male who has a high sense of fashion, a cheerful disposition, and an effeminate voice and mannerisms.

“Loafers” are a style of shoe, and when “light” indicates that the person is about to “fly away”.

Examples of “light in the loafers” used in a sentence

The following sentences illustrate the appropriate use of the idiom “light in the loafers”:

  • That guy over there looks light in the loafers.
  • He was so well-dressed that I swore he was light in the loafers.
  • I was surprised to learn that the guy was straight; I swore he was light in the loafers.
  • Don’t just assume someone is light in the loafers just because they dress well and walk a certain way.
  • Some might find the term “light in the loafers” offensive.
  • John always seemed a little light in the loafers to me.

Origin of the term “light in the loafers”

It’s important to note that while it may seem like the idiom “light in the loafers” is a derogatory term, and in some cases, it has been used as a euphemism by many a gay man. The origination of the term is a bit confusing; however, it does appear to have originated in the 1950s as an American slang to describe a stereotyped effeminate male. In fact, the Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang (2nd edition) features an entry that briefly describes the expression as “the image is the stereotyped effeminate male, tripping along”.

The term was also discussed in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, which defined the idiom as an “effeminate or homosexual”, and that the term originated in the 1960s. Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner claimed that the expression was common used in the 1950s. Though the term has fallen out of fashion, so-to-speak, today, as many people find it offensive, it is still used and references may be found in some types of literature; however, it is most commonly used in spoken language.

Phrases/Idioms similar to “light in the loafers”

There are several other phrases that can be used in place of the idiom “light in the loafers”. Examples of alternative phrases that mean the same thing include:

  • As queer as a nine-dollar bill
  • As queer as a square egg
  • As queer as a football bat
  • Attracted to the same sex
  • Bent as a nine bob note
  • Jimmy light in the loafers
  • Queer as clockwork orange

Summing It Up

There are several idioms that are used in the English language; some that are more common than others, and others that have fallen out of fashion. The term “light in the loafers” is an idiom that falls in the latter group; however, while less common today, it is still used.

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