A gun moll is a female companion of male professional criminal, and in some contexts the term more specifically suggests that the gun moll handles a firearm.
When the term came into usage in the first decade of the 20th century, "gun" was not derived from the firearm, but from the Yiddish word meaning "thief," variously transliterated into English as ganef, gonif, goniff, or ganof, itself derived from Hebrew "Ganav" (גנב). However, this distinction gradually disappeared, especially when such women became especially associated with gangsters noted for their frequent use of guns. "Moll" derives from Molly, a diminutive of Mary, used as a euphemism for whore or prostitute and attested at least since 17th century England.
In the U.S., the term has mostly been applied a woman associating with an American gangster of the 1920s and '30s, and in most cases remarkable only because of his notoriety. Extended use of the term without awareness of the Yiddish root, however, has invited interpretations of "gun" as suggesting more than simply criminal associations. Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow were gun molls in this stronger sense, and especially notable examples in general, because of their accompanying the rest of the Barrow Gang to the planned locations of violent crimes, and in Parker's case, apparently directly assisting at least to the extent of loading guns in the midst of shootouts.
- Don’t Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang by Ellen Poulson
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Gun moll. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|