The Utterly Fascinating History of the Word “Weed”

“Weed” is one of the most popular slang words for cannabis. The term seems to have arisen in the 1920s. In 1929, American Speech reports included it “Among the New Words,” defining it as “marijuana cigarette.” The venerable Oxford English Dictionary in 1932 cited the Chicago Defender as reporting, “The humble ‘reefer,’ ‘the weed,’ the marijuana, or what have you by way of a name for a doped cigarette has moved to Park Ave. from Harlem.”

The ever-hip Raymond Chandler, the master of the…

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