It has been sixty years since the bikini came to world attention.
In the summer of 1945 the Second World War was brought to an end with the two explosions of nuclear weapons over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The following summer the US military decided it would be a good idea to do a few more experiments with these kind of bombs to see just what happened when you did set one off.
So far there had only been three such explosions. The first took place in New Mexico and was just to show that the thing would actually work – the next two were – as one might put it – used in anger.
The place chosen for the testing was a group of small islands well away from most everything except the Pacific Ocean.
If you look at a map and find Australia and then trace north you’ll come to a fairly major island called Papua New Guinea. Then shoot off to the north-east for two thousand miles and you’ll come to the Marshal Islands. In the north-western area of the Marshal Islands there are a group of islands surrounding a lagoon.
This is the Bikini Atoll. The biggest island is only something over a square mile or so.
Before the bombs were set off there were actually residents on the islands, but they were thoughtfully removed before two explosions shook their world, one from the air, the other from underwater.
I say that these people were thoughtfully removed, but in fact there is a movement these days to try and bring world attention to the descendants of people like these, who were forcibly removed from their island homes. Check out the book Island of Shame by David Vine.
With respect to the bomb tests, as might be expected, they caught world attention and just happened to be coincident with the emergence in France of a new style of swimsuit formed in two pieces.
But it wasn’t until the following summer, in 1947 that two French guys took advantage of the fad and introduced their skimpier style swimsuit and named it a bikini on the theory that it was going to attract as much attention as last summer’s explosions.
It took another winter before the English speaking world picked up the word – in print at least – The Oxford English Dictionary first citation is in Newsweek in June 1948 in a piece that actually suggests a countertrend against the skimpy bikini.
From what I see around the old swimming hole, the countertrend hasn’t made much progress.
There is an interesting side note here in that there exists a kind of one piece bathing suit called a monokini, as if the leading BI of bikini meant bi as in “two” for the two pieces of the bikini.
Значения слова bikini в английском языке
Bikini Atoll – атолл Бикини (Маршалловы острова, Тихий океан). В июле 1946 США использовали его для двух испытаний атомной бомбы. 1 марта 1954 во время испытания водородной бомбы остров подвергся разрушению.
Bikini alert-state – использовавшаяся Министерством оборны Великобритании система оповещения об актуальном уровне (всего их пять) террористической угрозы. Слово "бикини" было выбрано компьютером случайно.
bikini – бикини (женский купальный костюм)
bikini cover-up – пляжный халат
string bikini – купальник из двух ленточек
bikini wax – восковая эпиляция области зоны бикини