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  • When I was in high school (in the 60’s) in the U.S., buttoned down shirts (tailored with button down collars) with a small loop in the upper back on a seam that joined the pieces of the back were in fashion. The small loop was called a fruit loop among us pupils and a favorite “pastime” during the breaks and even in class (if you were sitting behind someone wearing this kind of shirt) was to hook your finger in the fruitloop and threaten to pull it off.

  • As the author, I confess that I had no idea of the sexual meanings. I meant “daft,” “loony,” “idiotic,” but wanted a word with no cognitive content, since I was trying to articulate the instant, unconsidered, almost reflex reaction we (i.e., most modern readers of Shakespeare) have to the law in Shakespeare’s Vienna but also to the not dissimilar law actually passed during the Interregnum making adultery a death penalty offense. I’d heard the expression for years and assumed it was perfectly conventional slang. I am sorry for having caused confusion. dks

  • Rather than causing confusion, the original query caused me delight, as it is always a pleasure to come across and then investigate these unfamiliar uses. Interesting, too, that there is still such a gulf between UK and US expressions – I don’t think anyone here uses ‘fruitloops’ much. I think the nearest UK equivalent might be ‘bonkers’, which would similarly be used for unconsidered instant reaction