Friday, January 2, 2009

Naughty etymology (3)

Last batch from the Dictionary of Obscenity and Taboo, I promise:

BULL [..] The term is one of many names for male animals applied to men which carry connotations of sexual ability. [..] In nineteenth-century America these words were considered positively indecent, and were avoided by those with pretensions to good breeding. Amazing as it now seems, bulls were then known by names such as cow creature and gentleman cow.

CONDOM [..] Certainly the idea of using a sheath for contraception predates the introduction of suitable rubber. Giacomo Casanova, for one, tested animal intestines for this purpose.

FILTH [..] In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries prostitutes were referred to as filth, but since then the epithet has been inexplicably transferred to policemen.

ARSE [..] In the reign of Queen Anne there was a fashionable game at court which involved one person deceiving another into asking a question to which the first could answer "my arse". For example, a lady might enter a room in apparent distress crying "It is white, and it follows me!" When asked what "it" was she would reply in triumph "my arse!"

KISS MY ARSE [..] For reasons which are, unfortunately, lost to history there are a number of place names in Cheshire which make reference to arse-kissing. Examples are Kiss Arse Hill at Rainow, and Kiss Arse Wood at Wincle.

PRICK [..] Prudery has been responsible for the omission of many ancient proverbs from supposedly comprehensive reference works. One such is the sagacious observation that "a standing prick has no conscience".


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Naughty etymology (2)

More words from the Dictionary of Obscenity and Taboo:

UNMENTIONABLES [..] Between 1790 and the middle of the nineteenth century, by which time they had become established as acceptable, trousers were given a succession of silly and evasive names. As well as unmentionables, they were called inexpressibles, indescribables, unspeakables, ineffables, unexplicables, unwhisperables, innomonables, unutterables and unthinkables.

NUNNERY. A brothel. The term is not as popular now as it was in Elizabethan times when nuns had more dubious reputations than they do now. When Hamlet says to Ophelia "Get thee to a nunnery" it is clear from the context that he is using the word in this sense.

RIDE [..] Riding St. George is an old term for sexual intercourse with the woman sitting on top of the man. It was commonly believed in earlier centuries that a boy conceived in such circumstances was likely to grow up to become a bishop.

BITCH [..] There is a long history in English of words for women being devalued and becoming offensive. This systematic denigration of women is reflected, for example, in the history of words such as hussy, nymph, mistress, tart and whore. Why this should happen is something of a mystery, but whatever the reason the language is already littered by dozens, even hundreds, of such devalued words.

ONANISM [..] Knowing the above passage [Genesis 38: 8-10], a number of parrot owners (including Dorothy Parker) called their birds Onan because, like their Biblical namesake, they are given to spilling their seed on the ground.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Naughty etymology

Today's lesson in word history comes from the Wordsworth Dictionary of Obscenity and Taboo:

BUGGER [..] Derived from the Latin Bulgarus, meaning "Bulgarian", this word was originally applied to a group of Bulgarian heretics who were falsely accused of sodomy in the Middle Ages.

CUNT [..] Until the Middle Ages, parts of the body and bodily functions were accepted as commonplace facts of life, and the names for them were used as freely as any other word. Any part of the body which was unusually large or small, or unusually coloured, or otherwise remarkable, was likely to provide a convenient nickname or surname for its owner. So it is that we find recorded women's names such as Gunoka Cuntles (1219) and Bele Wydecunthe (1328), and men's names such as Godwin Clawecuncte (1066), Simon Sitbithecunte (1167), John Fillecunt (1246) and Robert Clevecunt (1302). In the City of London there was, in 1230, a street called Gropecuntlane.

MERKIN. A pubic wig. These items stille exist, although they are not so much in demand as they were in previous centuries. They were especially popular when the usual treatment for venereal disease involved shaving off the pubic hair.

FLYING PASTY. Excrement wrapped in paper and thrown over a neighbour's wall. This expression, first recorded around 1790, has largely fallen into disuse along with the particular form of antisocial behavior associated with it.

HUSSY [..] The word is actually a corruption of housewife, and the change of meaning has presumably come about because of too much gossip about brazen young housewives.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fra Gyldendals Konversasjonsleksikon 1935 - P

Pacemaker, eng., person som ved trening e. konkurranse holder sig foran en løper, syklist o.s.v. for å lette hans arbeide e. opmuntre ham.

Paraply (fr. parapluie, mot regn), regnskjerm.

Parykk (fr. perruque), en tettsittende lue utvendig forsynt med hår (tagl, ull, e.l.)

Pedagogikk, den videnskaplige behandling av opdragelseskunsten.

Pedofili, se Perversjon

Perversjon [..] Den viktigste p. er homoseksualiteten.

Piken fra Norge, navn på Margrete, skotsk dronning

Plattenslager; i da. har ordet fått bet. "bedrager", likesom uttrykket "slå en plade" i da. betyr "narre, bedra".

Pollusjoner, ufrivillige sæduttømmelser, i alm. under søvnen. [..] Ved seksuell overirritabilitet kan p. bli meget hyppige og være ledsaget av nevrasteniske forstyrrelser; den eneste rasjonelle behandlingsmåte er da et regelmessig og hygienisk liv, særlig i seksuell henseende.

Positi´v. 1) Mindre orgel som bare er forsynt med labialstemmer, - 2. Lirekasse.

Pote´ter, urt fra Andesfjellene i Chile, Peru og Ecuador.

Promiskuitet, kjønnslig samliv i fleng.

Prylestraff, legemlig revselse, kan nu bare anv. i opdragelsesøiemed overfor barn av deres foreldre e. andre som står i foreldres sted, samt av skolen (dog ikke på piker over 10 år), hvis de av skolestyret fastsatte regler for skolens orden og tukt gir adgang dertil.

Pumpernikkel, en slags grovt, kliholdig rugbrød som opr. brev brukt i Westfalen, Preussen.

Pyøng-yang, by i det n.v. Korea, ved jernbanen Søul-Mukden.

Med inspirasjon fra Kjetil Johansen.