As this was about the only form of gate in use, the name was readily applied to the toll gates when they first appeared.
“Early charters allowed the building of ‘turnpike-roads’ and the erection of ‘turnpikes’ across them. But the longer word soon became shortened and as ‘turnpikes’ themselves the roads were commonly known.”
Interestingly, a “shunpike” was the olden name for a road that was built to surreptitiously circumvent a toll road.
Is there a cooler-sounding word than fuzzbuster? It’s slang, of course, for a radar detector, with the implication that “fuzz” are police. But why would we call them that?
Dictionary.com says fuzz was slang in the 1920s for a man’s very short haircut, like a crew cut, which one can imagine a lawman might have favored. Morris wrote that the word could have referred to the beards of early police officers, or it could have been a mispronunciation of “feds,” as in federal agents, or even a derivative of the word fussy.
“There are countless explanations for fuzz,” said Matthew Anderson, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. “My favored explanation is that it comes from the 1920s term ‘fuzzy,’ used to indicate an unmanly or incompetent person. Criminals would tend to think of the police in those terms.”
We’ll get to Jersey barriers and station wagons next time.