Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/18/13: The Meaning of ‘Rap’

The word rap – referring originally to a mild form of rebuke (such as to rap one’s knuckles) – by the late 18th century referred to punishment or blame for serious offences. By the early 19th century, it entered American slang in a variety of expressions related to criminal justice, such as: to get the rap (to get the blame), to take the rap (to accept the blame), bum rap (to be blamed even if innocent), beat the rap (to avoid conviction), and rap sheet (a police record of arrests and convictions).

 


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Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/18/13: The Meaning of ‘Rap’ — 3 Comments

  1. hi there Ian– I very much enjoyed this posting– I did not connect several of thoese phrases together until I read this. Thanks!

    • hi Chester– yes, I was debating whether I should mention that…something about ‘rapping about the word rap’, but perhaps mercifully I decided against it! Thanks for your comment– I am always most appreciative!

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