As a US slang, Boob Tube is a slightly derogatory term that refers to a television or a television set.
However, in Britain a “boob tube” could be referring to a women’s clothing item which more resembles a bra than a clothing piece, hence its name.
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The combination of the words “boob” and “tube” comes from the fact the TVs back then were literal tubes since the screen was the far end of a cathode ray tube.
And since watching TV was associated with foolishness and watching it was indulging foolishness, and “boob” was a slang for someone who is sort of an idiot in the 1960s.
The pejorative term quickly stuck after televisions became common in households.
However, as a clothing item, “boob tube” is a tube-like garment that mainly covers a woman’s breasts.
Spread and Usage
“Boob tube” began to spread and become a well-known term around the 1980s and mid-1990s.
The Boob Tube, a comedy film, was made in 1975 meant to parody soap operas and TV commercials.
It was marketed to gain more recognition and to capitalize the success of The Groove Tube and other comedy films of that era.
- Urban Dictionary – Boob Tube