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Old 03-24-2001, 08:56 AM
scratch1300 scratch1300 is offline
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What is the etymology of "Bugsy", as in Bugsy Siegel?

Or, for that matter, "Bugs", as in Bugs Bunny?
Old 03-24-2001, 09:22 AM
astorian astorian is online now
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Well, "bugsy" or "buggy" has long been an adjective meaning "crazy" or nuts." Presumably, the pals who first called Benjamin Siegel "Bugsy" were saying he was crazy, or was reckless enough to do seemingly crazy things.

How "bugsy" came to mean "crazy" in the first place, I couldn't tell you.
Old 03-24-2001, 10:29 AM
TV time TV time is offline
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Both "Bugs" and "Bugsy" were relatively common slang terms for a crazy person at the turn of the last century up through the 1930s.

Most notably, it was used with both "Bugsy" Siegal, as scratch stated, and with Bugs Moran (both infamous gangsters of the 1920s through the 1940s). It should be noted that people did not use the nicknames of two individuals around the two mobsters. The two were known to foster a definite dislike for the name because of its insane implications and when one has built a reputation as a killer of men, you don't irritate that individual.

When the creator of that "waskelly wabbit" (I think it was Tex Rickert, but I could be mistaken) had created his cartoon charcter, he began looking for a name that gave the suggestion of a rabbit who would take on armed hunters and laugh about it. "Bugs" was the perfet name, implying craziness so he went with that.

Old 03-24-2001, 07:13 PM
Sylkyn Sylkyn is offline
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From what I have read about Bugsy Seigel, he was nicknamed that because of his reckless temperament and actions and was considered a bit "bugs" (crazy) by his peers. I have always considered him (I am somewhat of a gangster freak) to be fascinating. Not so much as Lucky Luciano, but still very, very interesting.

He also was NEVER called that to his face. It was more of a behind-the-back moniker. None of his enemies OR friends wanted to see a display of why he was labeled "Bugsy".

Even Virginia Hill got the hell out of Dodge when she ratted on his whereabouts.....just in case he lived through it. Luckily for her, he didn't.
You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.--Dorothy Parker
Old 03-24-2001, 07:35 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Most accounts say "Bugs Bunny" is derived from the director "Bugs" Hardaway, who directed several of the early WB cartoons featuring a rabbit that evolved into Bugs. The cartoonists referred to the creation as "Bugs' Bunny" and it stuck.

I'd assume Hardaway got his nickname because of the "crazy" implication. (As a side note, Hardaway left Warner Brothers and was involved in the creation of another long-running cartoon character -- Woody Woodpecker.)
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.


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