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Etymology of the word ‘roach’ to mean the end of a marijuana cigarette?

I was contemplating the German word “Rauch” (smoke or fumes) and the closely related “rauchte” (smoked) and “Rauchen” (smoking). These are related to the English word ‘reek’, and I wonder if they might also be related to the use of the word “roach” to refer to the butt of a marijuana cigarette.

Ger. Hahn “faucette”), nor with the rooster (as a size category, I say), though I see no etymology for the -racha in cucaracha. German translates Küchen- “kitchen”, akin to cook, that would count as folk etymology. – vectory Nov 23 at 16:03

1 Answer 1

The origin of roach in the marijuana sense is not clear, but among the different assumptions there is no reference to German words:

Roach is the short for cockroach on the wrong notion that it was a compond:

  • Meaning “butt of a marijuana cigarette” is first recorded 1938, perhaps from resemblance to the insect, but perhaps a different word entirely.
  • narcotics sense perhaps from earlier roach mane, a horse’s mane clipped very short and tied; perhaps from the insect.

(The Dictionary of American Slang)

another possible origin is from Spanish tobacco de cucaracha:

  • In Spanish, tabaco de cucaracha (“roach tobacco”) refers to powdery, low-quality tobacco.

Etymology of the word ‘roach’ to mean the end of a marijuana cigarette? I was contemplating the German word “Rauch” (smoke or fumes) and the closely related “rauchte” (smoked) and “Rauchen”

Roach marijuana

1. In England, joints are rolled with tobacco to help them burn. The tobacco leaks tar, which can cover and burn the smoker’s lips and fingers. A roach, in England, is a small piece of cardboard, often torn from the pack of rolling papers, which is rolled and placed into the mouthpiece of the joint. This makes it easier to hold and also makes it possible to smoke the entire joint without the aid of a roach clip.

2. In America, people tend not to smoke joints using tobacco, and what is called a roach in England is termed a filter in America. The roach is the end of the joint which cannot be smoked without a roach clip, because the smoker’s fingers would be burnt. The roach contains the most resin and is stronger than the rest of the joint because THC smoke has passed through and settled on it with each inhalation. A roach is often saved and smoked in a joint made from other roaches, which is much stronger than a normal joint.

1. “Put the roach in, I won’t smoke without it”

2. “Save the roach, we can smoke it with some others later on”

Roach marijuana 1. In England, joints are rolled with tobacco to help them burn. The tobacco leaks tar, which can cover and burn the smoker’s lips and fingers. A roach, in England, is a small