So yesterday I was looking for cases on NamUs and found a 1979 one where the missing man was said to be wearing a “blue barracuda” at the time he disappeared.
I was very confused because as far as I knew, a barracuda was a species of fish and nothing else. I wondered if they actually meant a balaclava, a type of ski mask.
I googled it and discovered Barracuda is a clothing company, but they make all kinds of clothes and I don’t think the company existed in 1979.
I called my mom, who was a grown woman in 1979, and asked if she had any idea what it could be. She did not, but told me a Barracuda is also a type of car. This was an interesting factoid but not very useful information.
I shrugged and posted the question to social media. In the meantime, I posted the case but omitted the barracuda from the clothing description.
Social media provided several answers (I learned that Barracuda is a name for an email screening software) but the only one that made any sense was from someone who asked their father and was told that sometimes back in those days, denim jackets were referred to as barracudas.
This is a pretty good example of why police reports shouldn’t use slang terms or regionalisms. Because people outside that particular time and place may have NO IDEA what they are.
There is a company called Baracuta, from the UK, founded in 1937. They were in the US by the 1950s. Their Herrington jacket is still a recognizable/ familiar style. I wonder if that’s the origin of the slang? If the jacket was denim, would it also be necessary to say it was blue? Anyway, here they are: https://us.baracuta.com/pages/about
I’ve seen plenty of references to “blue jeans” and “blue jean jackets”. Denim can come in other colors after all. I remember when I was a little girl my favorite pants was a pair of bright pink jeans.
I think they meant a baracuta style jacket.
But everything you say is true. “wearing a blue barracuda” isn’t very descriptive!
Steve McQueen is famous for wearing a “baracuta” jacket. If those places are going to use terms that might be regional they should make sure their spelling is correct. It can make a huge difference.
A search of Newspapers.com for the term “Barracuda jacket” for the years 1965 – 1985 was very revealing. Lots of pics of a particular style of lightweight, structured, collared zip-up sport jacket. I’d upload some, but there is no option.