A Brief History of the “Pat-Down”

November 23, 2010

By Ben Zimmer

The outrage over new security procedures enforced by the Transportation Security Administration has thrust the word pat-down into the news. Airline passenger screenings in the U.S. now involve full-body scans, or if the passenger refuses the scan, a full-body pat-down. While the TSA faces backlash against these so-called “enhanced pat-downs” (an unfortunate term reminiscent of “enhanced interrogation techniques” at Guantanamo), plain-old pat-downs have been part of the lexicon of law enforcement for decades.

Here’s the link to the full article. Recognition goes to Visual Thesaurus and especially to Ben Zimmer for this.

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