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I am trying to find when “sweater puppies” started to be used in pop culture. I have asked a search engine but only found a reference dating back to being added to the Urban Dictionary in 2003 and I know it is older than that.

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The Routledge Dictionary of American Slang and Unconventional English (2018) traced the phrase back to 1994:

the female breasts US, 1994:

One phrase sums up how I feel about them: Sweater Puppies - soc.college.teaching-asst, 2nd February 1994

The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang gives a similar example from 1992:

Previous posts about her breast size were accurate. Un-be-lievable! Those puppies wanted out of that sweater! - rec.arts.tv.soaps, 14 September 1992.

As colloquial slang, I haven't been able to trace it back further than that in corpuses like COCA or in newspapers.

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  • Interesting. I wonder if it was used before Usenet became popular in the early 90s. But it's a lot easier to search Usenet than to check barroom conversations.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 13:24
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I remember it starting circa 1970 in Bar slang: "Look at the Puppies in that sweater"...AKA Sweater Puppies....Philly PA, Penny Gardens Bar.

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  • In Philly, "puppies" is a term of approval for almost anything desirable. A valet parking lot attendant might say of Porsches that show up: "We like to take those puppies around the block before parking them." Or someone might say to a coworker about a couple of Wawa pretzels on a plate in the coffee room: "These puppies yours?"
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 15 at 11:32

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