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"policeman," 1817, British colloquial, originally a member of the Irish constabulary, named for Sir (at that time Mr.) Robert Peel (1788-1850) who founded the Irish Constabulary (cf. bobby). In Middle English it meant "robber, thief" (mid-14c.). Meaning "strip-tease artist" (1951) is from peel (v.) in colloquial sense of "strip off clothing" (1820).
A striptease dancer; stripper: grinders, peelers, and bumpers (1940s+)Related Terms