One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
military slang, derogatory
1A newly commissioned officer, especially a second lieutenant.
- ‘The shavetail saluted crisply and started prodding the crowd into a semblance of order.’
- ‘This is no old soldier's tale, but a reflection by a true ‘shavetail’ on his experiences in the profession of arms.’
- ‘RA ranks within the 2nd Training Regiment at Fort Dix boasted just one colonel, one lieutenant colonel, a first lieutenant and three shavetails.’
- 1.1informal An inexperienced person.as modifier ‘the shavetail Assistant District Attorney’
- ‘While you and the shavetail here were shooting it out with Fine and Amos, I grabbed the doc.’
Figuratively, from the early sense ‘untrained pack animal’ (identified by a shaven tail).
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