We have been watching your cops shows again. The slang
term for an informant is a "grass", as in your lawn.
I can't find any good explanation on the web, so I
thought I'd ask you where it comes from.
The first known use of "grass" in that context is Arthur Gardner's crime
novel Tinker's Kitchen, published in 1932, in which a "grass" is defined
as "an informer". The origin of the term "grass" being used as
signifying a traitor, a person who informs on people he or she knows
intimately, ostensibly can be traced to the expression "snake in the
grass," which has a similar meaning. The phrase derives from the
writings of Virgil (in Latin, latet anguis in herba) and has been known
in the English language, meaning "traitor," since the late 17th century.
Hope this helps.
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