Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A man's suit popular during the early 1940s, characterized by full-legged, tight-cuffed trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and heavily padded, wide shoulders.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An outfit featuring a suit with broad shoulders, a long coat, and baggy trousers that taper to a tight fit at the ankles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a flashy suit of extreme cut

Etymologies

Probably from an alteration of suit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Zoot may be a Caló slang pronunciation of suit, thus making the term a tautology and reduplication. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sleepy Lagoon sparked the zoot suit riots, your police department running amok.

    The Big Nowhere

  • Mondo Lopez, Juan Duarte and Sammy Benavides, former Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee bigshots, recruited out of the Sinarquistas — a zoot suit gang given to sporting Nazi regalia — by CP bosses.

    The Big Nowhere

  • It was right before the zoot suit riots, and everyone was cuckoo about the mexes.

    The Big Nowhere

  • ‘43 De Haven told me she wanted to reform because some Mexican boyfriend of hers got beat up in the zoot suit riots and she wanted to work more efficaciously for the People’s Revolt.

    The Big Nowhere

Comments

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  • Briefly revived by David Bowie et al in the '70's.

    October 6, 2008

  • So THAT'S what a zoot suit is.

    October 6, 2008

  • zoot suit riot

    June 19, 2008

  • A suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed pegged trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing was popularized by Hispanics, Italian Americans, African Americans, and Filipino Americans during the late 1930s and 1940s.

    June 19, 2008