7 Ways to Say Thank You
"marijuana cigarette," 1920s, perhaps an alteration of Mexican Spanish grifo "marijuana, drug addict" [OED]; or perhaps from reef (v.), on resemblance to a rolled sail. It also meant "pickpocket" in criminal slang (1935). Reefer also was a nickname for "midshipman" (1818) "because they attend in the tops during the operation of reefing" [Century Dictionary], which is the source of the meaning "coat of a nautical cut" (1878) worn by sailors and fishermen "but copied for general use in the fashions of 1888-90" [CD].
reefer reef·er (rē'fər)
Marijuana, especially a marijuana cigarette.
A refrigerated railroad car, truck, ship, etc; freeze: A malfunction in a refrigerated trailer, or reefer, raises the temperature
[1914+; fr refrigerated]
[1920s+ Narcotics; origin unknown; perhaps originally rifa fr Mexican Spanish grifa, ''marijuana,'' the g lost because it is not aspirated or exploded in Spanish pronunciation and hence not readily heard by English speakers]
A front-page paragraph referring to a story on an inside page: The Times ran a reefer with the new term for ''change of mind'' subtly noted/ The Timeses of New York or LA could produce front pages of refers, meaning concise summaries that resemble the tops of articles (1990s+ Newspaper office)