Scarf? Heat-on? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Am told that the word scarf*,for eating quickly originated in North Beach as slang from some Italian word meaning eating fast. Any takers?

To have a "heat-on"* means to be drunk. That allegedly also started here, also. Does anyone outside the SF area know or use this term?

*Example: That guy who just scarfed his dinner and pulled a runner had a pretty good heat-on.

-- Don Beppino (, March 10, 2004


Cool, California slang all the way. Scarf is derived from scoff, another California slang word coined in 1846 meaning 1: to eat greedily 2: seize; to eat something greedily. The sailor scoffed a huge piece of salted beef onboard the ship before debarking for a night of drinking. Scarf came into popular use in the 1960's: The hippie smoked some marijuana then scarfed everything edible in sight. I don't know if the word scoff has any Italian origin but sailors, by nature, use an international launguage.

-- will (, March 10, 2004.

Scarf (Ca) 1960's from Scoff (Ca) 1849 from Scaff (origin and date unknown). Does scaff sound Italian?

-- strange (, March 11, 2004.

"Heat-on" was a term that was used at Chico State College when I attended (68-72). I don't know where the slang originated from, but it was very prevalent in use at that time, we even called our coolers "Heat Boxes".

Scarf - scoff - scaff - yes, but I think scoff might be English. Who's got an OED?

-- Alice Lethbridge (, March 11, 2004.

No doubt those Chico students hailed from SF, or at least the Bay Area?

-- Don Beppino (, March 15, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ