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February 08, 2007

Comments

I'd like to apologize, here and now, for the smattering of times I've been a Snuffleupagus on this blog.

Wierd. My five-year-old has been saying "vagina" for a good two or three years, now, with no embarrassment at all.

No, not nonstop. Just when appropriate.

I was taken aback a couple of years ago when I stepped out of the shower and she said "I like your peanuts". I was so much at a loss for words, that...well, I still don't know what to say to her about that. Some things you just have to let go.

And some things make you practically herniate yourself, trying to keep the laughter in.

Gary: you might have been a delicate on occasion, but never a Snuffleupagus.

there's a great exchange in the big lebowski when maude says this to Lebowski:

Maude Lebowski: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

This really lends new meaning to the observation that Joe Lieberman looks like Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

In case anyone besides me was wondering where this theater was, I'll save you clicking through: it's Atlantic Beach, Florida.

I'd have to note that this is the sort of issue you'd expect to be brought up by one of those people with breasts.

I mean, really: there are terms for the vagina that ought not to be on billboards, or anywhere else where a child might see them. But I wouldn't have thought that 'vagina' was one of those terms.

Can we make a list? :D

Actually, this has been a source of much cross-cultural confusion for me. One of the standard terms in the pudendal lexicon is the "c-word", which I dare not write here because it tends to make American women, and Canadian women for that matter, see red. In the UK, however it -- and "twat", come to think of it -- is used as a standard derogatory, an insult but nothing beyond the pale. And I, having a particularly salty bent IRL, used to bust it until I was, uh, sufficiently reprimanded.

So, to the masses assembled herein:

1) Do you find the "c-word" unusually offensive?

2) If so, why?

1: yes. 2: I'm American, and thus it has always been a pretty hateful word, in my experience.

Plus, "vagina" doesn't quite have the same zing. Try it.

Ok, that came out all wrong, and so did this, so just forget it.

Otherwise, she would have to tell her child that sex involves putting a Snuffleupagus into a Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
I feel like I just read slashfic.

*weep*

I'm still puzzling over 'undercarriage'. I mean: that's that part of cars that rusts away in snowy climates, right?

-- Odder still: I googled it, and it's an aircraft's landing gear. Does the person who suggested this think that the part in question is, um, retractable? Or that it can support weight? Or that skidding to a halt on a runway on one's undercarriage would in any way resemble a good idea?

I'm so confused.

Anarch asks for a list, TiO provides the place. Now with a random persistant avatar!

Strange. I've been working with military aircraft pilots for about six years, now, and never once have I heard any of them refer to the landing gear as "undercarriage".

Wiki is funny, sometimes. Or possibly it's commercial pilots to blame.

Actually, this could be interesting. Google yields more fun:

"Gough & Gilmour:

"Gough & Gilmour can take care of your undercarriage needs"

More than 80 segment configurations
More than 600 sprocket configurations
More than 500 Idler configurations
Weld-on rims, bolt-on rim, full hub and segmented type
3, 4, 5 and 6 teeth segments
Cast, forged and fabricated Idlers

John Deere:

"The honest truth is that when it comes to undercarriage, all you need to remember are two things: John Deere builds them better and John Deere backs them better. So if undercarriage wear is important to your operation's productivity, please take a few minutes to review what John Deere has to offer.

Over 35 years of analyzing what does - and what doesn't - give an undercarriage longer life, have proven that a few extra thousandths of hardness can drastically impact an undercarriage's durability. But the beauty in all of this is that the steel that goes into John Deere undercarriage gives it the kind of deep-hardened resiliency that goes directly to your bottom line. And that's why we say the value that we build into John Deere undercarriage is truly hardened to the core. "

Volvo:

"When you choose genuine Volvo undercarriage parts you get parts that are developed and designed for your specific machine. This means that every part is manufactured to be able to handle the type of wear and absorb the forces that are generated when the machine is working. The optimized features and fit give long operating life and superior total economy.

It is important to perform inspections of the undercarriage at regular intervals. The constant stress and wear ultimately leads to reduced performance. By keeping the undercarriage in good condition you ensure that the machine always works safely and effectively in the long run."

My favorite:

"Gatekeeper's technology is designed to automatically detect vehicle bombs and/or changes to a vehicle's undercarriage along with the authentication of each vehicle's identity. The Gatekeeper systems achieve these functions by deploying intelligent based algorithms that automatically compare a vehicle's undercarriage to a database of vehicle undercarriage images containing the same or similar vehicle make and model. In addition the Gatekeeper systems collect intelligence about the movement of vehicles based on data collected through the various Gatekeeper systems that can be analyzed to assist in the identification of potential terrorists and their activities."

OMG, there's a bomb!!!

Otherwise, she would have to tell her child that sex involves putting a Snuffleupagus into a Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and the poor kid's head would explode.

I damn near exploded laughing at that one.

Anyone remember the play "Oh! Calcutta!"? It had a whole song about what we call our naughty bits. IIRC, the song praised 'vagina' for sounding regal, and heaped scorn upon the 'c' word because "it sounds too much like runt."

Quite aside from the cultural abasement of the word, I never liked the way c*nt sounds: abrupt, percussive, almost impossible to say lovingly. I feel the same way about 'twat.' It might be that 't' at the end, since I don't feel the same way about 'prick' or 'cock.'

"OMG, there's a bomb!!!"

That's what you're calling a Snuffleupagus now?

This Gatekeeper: it's clearly a sophisticated birth control device.

Gary: if there is a bomb in your undercarriage, it would probably be an IUD.

OK, I'm going to stop now.

Speaking as a former Volvo owner and (this is kind of a given) frequent mechanic, I can say with some authority that they do have lovely, albeit sturdy undercarriage.

Just glad no one said Egg McMuffin.

"The Egg McMuffin Dialogs"?

People will think it's a seminar on nutrition, or the lack thereof in fast foods.

My, won't they be surprised.

Supersize me!

(Must. Stop. Giving. Hilzoy. Straight Lines.)

Supersize me!

Why do I have this awful feeling that someone, somewhere, has used that phrase in bed?

That's two people now who've asterisked c**t but not tw*t. The latter has always bothered me less for some reason.

My house had a whole shelf full of one 1970s-era becoming a woman books. (I think the too-much-information school of sex education works very well, both as a means of making sure the kids know what they need to know and as a means of encouraging abstinence: instead of learning illicit, inaccurate things from your friends in the school cafeteria you think, "oh not this again, so embarrassing." I mean, what association is going to make sex less tempting than earnest educational talks with your parents?)

As a result of all this I'm not on the euphemisms. I think I learned hoohaa and cooter from the Daily Show.

I had never heard Hoo-Haa before, which was one of the reasons I found the original article so surreal.

"'The Egg McMuffin Dialogs'?"

With pork sausage on the side?

And speaking of the abuse of language, which we weren't, but who cares:

"We used to laugh at you glasses of warm milquetoast, and then use you like wet kleenex. I see you’re no smarter today than you were then. Sad."

Bill Quick, via The Poor Man.

So, to the masses assembled herein:

1) Do you find the "c-word" unusually offensive?

2) If so, why?

I think I may have used to. I'm not sure. I've spent too long studying semantics now and I have trouble finding any words offensive. In this particular case, I may not have been particularly bothered, though. If so, the reason would be somewhat paradoxical, in that this word (being deemed quite taboo) never got uttered too much in the socially conservative area where I grew up, nor in the progressive and/or feminist circles that I moved in during my pre-linguist collegiate days. So I never was exposed to it enough to learn to be shocked and outraged. It was just something One Didn't Say. But I can't remember if I felt it wasn't to be said because it was Appalling Beyond Speech (this seems unlikely, the more I think about it) or just conventionally Not Fit For Polite Conversation.

"We used to laugh at you glasses of warm milquetoast, and then use you like wet kleenex. I see you’re no smarter today than you were then. Sad."

Since we're discussing euphemisms, it's not too much of a jump to go from body to functions. When I originally read this, my first thought was that he meant using the milquetoast glasses (shouldn't those be bowls, though?) as Kleenexes in the "farmer/trucker handkerchief" sense.

(Then I realized he was just badly mixing metaphors, and didn't know what to think of myself for my "logical conclusion"...)

Anarch: 1) Do you find the "c-word" unusually offensive?

2) If so, why?

"Unusually" offensive? Hm. I find many of the men who use that word as an insult offensive: and I learned a long time ago when working in an all-male environment, that unless I wanted to hear, all day long, the word c*nt used as an insult - which practice I do find offensive - I needed to squelch it the first time it was used in my hearing in the workplace. And I did, and I don't really care if they figured it was because I am a feminist or because they thought I was puritanical: I didn't want to have to hear, dinned into my ears all day long, that women's sexual parts are offensive.

And yes, I know most of the men who used the word c*nt had completely detached it from its literal meaning, but I hadn't.

Otherwise, she would have to tell her child that sex involves putting a Snuffleupagus into a Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and the poor kid's head would explode.

Or she'd become a slash writer... ;-)

Oh, euphemisms for the vagina? Who else besides me has read scads of bad lesbian erotica? (Don't all wave hands at once, guys.) Flower, fountain, cave, well, fruit (and various kinds of specific fruit, too), chocolate box (I really like that one, actually: it's sort of cute)... Quim is nice, as a word, but I have never heard anyone actually use it except as the title of a magazine.

In the 18th-century diaries of Anne Lister, part-published by Virago as I know my own heart, she and the other women she has affairs with refer to the c*nt as the "queer", which may be a dialect variation of ‘queynt’ that came into common use among lesbians in this era: Lister's diaries are the only known usage of the word.

Maybe the term undercarriage is more common in Britain for the airplane landing gear. I have seen tons of British documentaries and there it the standard term.

Euphemisms for those parts seem to be an English (BE&AE) obsession. German seems to have far less of them, especially "made-up" words. If at all there are usually names of objects used and even those more in "fiction" than in actual real-life talk.

in other news:

Republican senator warns

The US army could be chased out of Baghdad by a platoon of lesbians

correction: he's a Dem

twat doesn't even refer to genitalia in British English, it more or less just means 'twit'. This got me all kinds of strange looks when I first went to university in the USA.

Are you sure bm? I remember when I was the UK a while ago, there was a bit of a scandal when on BBC2 radio, they first had a story of a sperm whale that had gotten trapped (up the Firth of Forth?) and than a story about a coup in Fiji where a general named Jack Twat (the name wasn't spelled like that, but it was pronounced like that) got the announcers into a fit of giggles so bad that BBC2 later apologized on air.

byrningman: twat doesn't even refer to genitalia in British English, it more or less just means 'twit'.

Er, I hate to tell you this, byr, but...

...yes, it does.

You may now blush retrospectively. *heartless snicker*

(My brother once asked me if I knew what "bugger" meant: I had picked up the habit* of calling our dog "you bugger" in an affectionate way. I didn't. He said I had better not use it again until I did. In my defense, I was 11.)

*From an elderly Yorkshireman who used to walk his dog in the park near our home at the same time I did.

I assume the reason people don't write tw*t is that it would be read as "twit".

Undercarriage is fairly common usage in commercial aviation - it's obsolete in the military. I knew someone who insisted that it should more properly be called "taking-off gear". After all, you can land without working landing gear (once) but if you try taking off without it you'll just sit there howling.

Robert Browning once came across "twat" in an old poem and decided to use the word himself in Pippa Passes, under the misapprehension that it referred to a nun's wimple:

Then, owls and bats,
Cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister’s moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!

So you're in excellent company, byrningman.

George Carlin, likely in reaction to the uproar over the Seven Words You Can't Say on Radio skit, had a skit which largely consisted of lists of slang for the various dirty words. When I saw him live in 1986, he said that typically after each show, people from the audience would come backstage and tell him a few more.

His website has a list of 2,443 Dirty Words, but for some reason you can't link to any part of the site directly. To get there, click on documents, and the link to the dirty words appears on the left.

My favorites from the list of female genitalia were Bluebeard's Closet, Candle Holder and The House Under the Hill.

Novakant, not only that, he's not a senator, and you've taken the comment out of context:

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) slammed the U.S. military’s ban on gay servicemembers, saying the Pentagon “seems more afraid of gay people than they are [of] terrorists,” and that if the terrorists were smart, “they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.”

Anarch,

The c-word is still thought of as offensive in the UK by a lot of people. I don't think it's allowed to be used in broadcasts, for example. And I think one of the reasons it is so nasty is because it is almost invariably used as an aggressive insult. It's not like calling someone a 'bugger', which can be used in an affectionate tone.

As for euphemisms, it's just as well the play didn't end up as 'The front bottom monologues', which would have been far more embarassing for parents of children who'd just learned to read. And why was the aunt embarassed anyhow? If the child knew the word, you just say 'it's some silly/nasty play'. If they didn't and asked: 'What's a vagina?' you say 'Don't know, probably some town in Texas'.

There was an article I read recently, BTW, by a doctor who was determined he was not going to use euphemisms with his young daughter. So when she had an infection on her vulva, he explained this to her. Inevitably, of course, she later explained to visitors that she had to go and have some cream put her on her Volvo.

Well, that's a relief. Otherwise, she would have to tell her child that sex involves putting a Snuffleupagus into a Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and the poor kid's head would explode.

Brilliant.

Inevitably, of course, she later explained to visitors that she had to go and have some cream put on her Volvo.

And they said "But dear, you're too young to drive!"

it is almost invariably used as an aggressive insult
It seems that things may be different in South Africa -- and perhaps other places besides the US and UK?

I understand that the Cree word for vagina is "pusquish" which seems almost embarrassingly accurate.

I was intially shocked by the wide usage of the c-word in the UK when I lived there, but gradually came around to seeing it as no more offensive than plenty of other choices, suggesting context is everything. The way some British recoil when you say "fanny" might be parallel to the way the Americans respond to the c-word, except I don't think "fanny" is as offensive. It's simply --oddly-- viewed as graphic, I believe. UKers?

Whenever you see Bush addressing the troops, you frequently hear them yelling, "Hoo Haa". At least it sounds that way. All along I thought it was just an Army thing, but maybe they meant something different.

'What's a vagina?' you say 'Don't know, probably some town in Texas'.

hilarious.

Weirdest word pairing I ever came across in 55 years was "Cecil and Huffnpuff", in a local standup routine many years ago.

I rather wish the c-word could be rehabilitated. There are some very funny lines punning on it in Chaucer, which is where I first heard it, and so the nasty, insulting way most Americans use it makes me sad. It would take some doing to rehabilitate it, though.

Edward: except I don't think "fanny" is as offensive. It's simply --oddly-- viewed as graphic, I believe. UKers?

It's often thought amusing that Americans use "fanny" to mean "butt", where for Brits "fanny" is a coy word for "quim". The connotation of "fanny packs" is quite, quite different... ;-) But no, fanny wouldn't be considered especially offensive - 2 on the scale of 1 to 5, say.

(Where 1 is a word you would feel free to use at a job interview, and 2 is a word you could use - in proper context - in front of your young children or your aging mother.)

Do you find the "c-word" unusually offensive?

You can not believe how hard I am resisting linking to McEwan’s rant on the topic.

Must…not…do…it…

I'm glad someone brought up Carlin. When I saw him years ago, he ended his show with a lengthy list of slang for male masturbation, my favorite of which was (I probably have the wording wrong) "taking care of the long-term unemployed."

Vagina. What will the mother mentioned in the post do if she takes her daughter to the doctor and he or she snaps on the rubber gloves, cracks his or her knuckles, and announces, "Now, young lady, it is time for your, and I'm speaking technically, hoohaa examination"?

I'm always fascinated by how language can be so different according to venue.

By the way, I use the word "quim" because it is cute and descriptive, but only with my sweety, who is a bit o' crumpet, if you know what I mean, mate.

I had a female doctor whose bedside manner was a little alarming for my taste. Once she asked me, one small moment before inserting a jellied finger up my fundament during an examination, "so, what do you want for Christmas?" which I found out later is an old seasonal medical school joke. Ha, ha, yow, humpph!

Now I have a male doctor. We discuss my naughty bits in his office with utmost seriousness, but as I shut the door upon leaving, we both crack up privately into snorting laughter. Guys will be guys, no matter the venue. He serves beer in his office, too, which seems a little over the top. And instead of asking me to disrobe, he sneaks up behind me and depantses me and we laugh uproariously.

Well, I think he's a doctor. Maybe I should ask him for some credentials.

Maybe I should go back to the female doctor.

Not safe for work, but this cartoon it coves a fair bit of ground on this topic.

Did I mention it's NSFW?

In case you're curious about exactly what Brits find offensive, here's the official BBC list of swear words sorted by rudeness. The c-word ranks higher than you might expect.

That should read "this cartoon covers". Not sure where the characters above came from, exactly.

When speaking to the military, President Bush is using the term hoo-ah (variously spelled hua, hoo-ah, hooah), not hoohah. For some reason, in the Army hoo-ah is a motivational exclamation. Although I had a drill sergeant who said it was spelled hua and that it was an acronym for Head Up A**. Make of that what you will.

"Wanker" is number 4? Is Atrios NSFW in the UK?

But no, fanny wouldn't be considered especially offensive - 2 on the scale of 1 to 5, say.

(Where 1 is a word you would feel free to use at a job interview, and 2 is a word you could use - in proper context - in front of your young children or your aging mother.)

fanny is hardly scandalous, but you wouldn't say it in front of your children or your mother.

Or she'd become a slash writer... ;-)
Thanks for making me not the only person to think that, Jes. good to know we're on the same page on this one.

Actually Andrew, I knew that, but knowing how some members of the military feel about their CiC, it seemed somehow appropriate.

byr: fanny is hardly scandalous, but you wouldn't say it in front of your children or your mother.

Your mother is used to hearing you call people twats, byr...

Seriously: I know more than one set of parents who told their daughters the word for hoo-hah is "fanny". The other, I suspect, depends on how aging your mother is. But it's certainly one of the more polite words for quim.

The a capella band Manhattan Transfer has a song the name of which escapes me. The lyrics start "way down south in Birmingham, I mean south, in Alabam" but before that bit they do a vocalization that can be best written as "hoo ha". Oddly enough, given that I'm 40ish and lived in the US all my life, I heard the song before I ever learned that some people refer to vagina as a hoo ha.

needless to say, i now find that song very amusing.

Not to intrude on the frivolity, but.

Here's a couple of euphemisms. Not entirely work-unsafe, but...

"George Carlin, likely in reaction to the uproar over the Seven Words You Can't Say on Radio skit, had a skit which largely consisted of lists of slang for the various dirty words"

To be a real nitpicker, Carlin has never done "skits." A "skit" is people acting out a scene. Carlin does stand-up routines, or monologues. No comedian would ever call one the other. Stand-up comedians aren't doing "skits"; that's improv.

Or a rehearsed scene, I should have said.

...the way some British recoil when you say "fanny" might be parallel to the way the Americans respond to the c-word, except I don't think "fanny" is as offensive.
But "fanny" refers to two entirely different body parts in American and British English, Edward. Of course they couldn't have the same connotations, since they have different denotations.

(In Britain, it refers to the vagina; in the U.S., to one's rear end.)

Here's a couple of euphemisms. Not entirely work-unsafe, but...

I immediately thought of Tina Fey when I read this post. She's awesome.

Back in Michigan, up on thhe UP, there is a Lake Fannny Hoo.

my parents told me, when i was a kid, that it ws named for a girl that died there. My folks aren't much for euphemisms. I thought fanny was just an old fashioned name.

...the way some British recoil when you say "fanny" might be parallel to the way the Americans respond to the c-word, except I don't think "fanny" is as offensive.
But "fanny" refers to two entirely different body parts in American and British English, Edward. Of course they couldn't have the same connotations, since they have different denotations.

(In Britain, it refers to the vagina; in the U.S., to one's rear end. Thus the reaction of Britons to a "fanny pack.")

And now, for no reason I can think of, I've got "fanny pack" running through my head to the tune of Lollypop.

FWIW, I've always felt uncomfortable with the V* word. I'll grit my teeth and use it at the gynecologist's, but with great reluctance. I think that one reason is that it is a later Latin import into English, whereas cunt, for example has the advantage of at least mobilising emotion, albeit negative, and has those great old fashioned Anglo-Saxon sounds to it. It also has one syllable, and that's an advantage too. Three syllables for the V word means that you really have to articulate to get it out. Plus, it's so boringly nice, scientific, and educational. Let's face it, who wants sex to be nice, scientific and educational ?

Three syllables for the V word means that you really have to articulate to get it out.

I'll admit that's probably a consideration, but only one borne of having a multitude of choices.

My oldest daughter has got a nontrivial amount of speech impairment, but she manages "vagina" just fine. Or at least, with no more than the usual amount of difficulty.

And now, for no reason I can think of, I've got "fanny pack" running through my head to the tune of Lollypop.

Damn you slarti!

A pot-pourri here...

hilzoy: I had never heard Hoo-Haa before, which was one of the reasons I found the original article so surreal.

*blinks*

That may be the funniest thing on this thread, which is saying something.

Jes: Oh, euphemisms for the vagina? Who else besides me has read scads of bad lesbian erotica? (Don't all wave hands at once, guys.)

*waves hands slowly, one at a time*

(My brother once asked me if I knew what "bugger" meant: I had picked up the habit* of calling our dog "you bugger" in an affectionate way. I didn't. He said I had better not use it again until I did. In my defense, I was 11.)

Sort of the same way some Telegraph columnist got their knickers in a twist over the use of the word "berk" on Blue Peter a few years back. In fact, that's almost exactly the same way...

magistra: I don't think it's allowed to be used in broadcasts, for example. And I think one of the reasons it is so nasty is because it is almost invariably used as an aggressive insult.

Fair enough, but there's still a qualitative difference in the way the word is perceived in the US and the UK, IMO, particularly amongst people of otherwise-robust humors. I can't really explain it without getting, um, really vulgar; suffice to say that there are people to whom I can say "*%@&^!#@$ you you &#@%&! filthy %&$#&%^@ $&@#^-gargling &@#$^# piece of *#%&#$ &#$%&^@ lawnmower &$#@&^@# tuna fish!!!" as a term of affection, who will get seriously offended at even the mention of the word.

[And is it actually still forbidden in the UK? I was fairly sure that, amongst their many other transgressions against polite society, the HBO/BBC series Rome used the word once or twice. Of course, they might simply have used a different cut over there.]

Dantheman: My favorites from the list of female genitalia were Bluebeard's Closet, Candle Holder and The House Under the Hill.

Mine will always be "fungus flaps".

Jes: It's often thought amusing that Americans use "fanny" to mean "butt", where for Brits "fanny" is a coy word for "quim".

Ah, "quim". An American's best friend...

Francis: The a capella band Manhattan Transfer has a song the name of which escapes me. The lyrics start "way down south in Birmingham, I mean south, in Alabam"

Yay Transfer! And it's Tuxedo Junction, though it took me a while to remember the name myself.

And now, I think I'm going to eat a cheeseburger. Later, y'all.

Damn you slarti!

Pain shared is pain diminished, and all that.

Mine will always be "fungus flaps"

Uh, ew. No, really, ew.

There was someone on the comment thread I linked to who claimed to have come up with the term 'legpit' by herself, as a child.

That was not as bad as fungus flap, though.

Ick. Even the twee things like 'flower' are better, and I am normally allergic to twee.

Wow, it has been years since I saw Sesame Street and I totally thought the no-so-imaginary-friend's name was Mr. Snufflegagus. Hmm, learn something old every day!

I'm too ancient and decrepit to have had Sesame Street as a kid, but a second's googling: Aloysius Snuffleupagus. (Note slight spelling variation.)

And now, I think I'm going to eat a cheeseburger.

...Well, y'all have fun.

And is it actually still forbidden in the UK? I was fairly sure that, amongst their many other transgressions against polite society, the HBO/BBC series Rome used the word once or twice. Of course, they might simply have used a different cut over there.

On that note, it will be interesting to see how much the HBO miniseries for the brutal Song of Ice and Fire novels gets toned down, considering that Martin's characters seem quite fond of the c-word.

With all due apologies to Hilzoy:

Cheeseburger? Cheeseburger??

Pepsi? Pepsi??

Chip? Chip??

Since we've touched on British cursewords, would someone, anyone, explain to me why the English consider "bloody" to be something of an emphatic and/or a mild curse? (As is "bloody good," "not bloody likely" etc.?) I've lived in England, traveled extensively to the UK and Ireland, and I still have no idea how "bloody" came to be. Does it have something to do with British beef, as in, that's a bit raw? With a certain time of the month when a good friend vists the hoo-haa havin' folks? (To mix the maximum number of euphemisms possible.) With Bloody Mary's? With Bloody Mary? Inquiring minds and all.

Only place I've run across "quim" is Victorian pornography. "Dark rose" out of a translation of Jorge Amado (wonder whether that was a direct translation of the original.)

I thought the "hoo-haa" got started by some silly professor at UCLA--there was a long thread at Pandagon some time back ripping his pearl-clutching about women's genitalia to shreds.

"Undercarriage"? As a GA student pilot, I just have to giggle at that one.

I've lived in England, traveled extensively to the UK and Ireland, and I still have no idea how "bloody" came to be.

The version I'd heard was that it was an additional shortening of "god's blood", as in the occasional Victorian expletive "sblood!" -- and related to "god's wounds" -> "zounds!" -- but that could just be folklore.

I've lived in England, traveled extensively to the UK and Ireland, and I still have no idea how "bloody" came to be.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, it is from s'blood, a shortened form of the oath God's blood.

But apparently we have been saying "bloody!" in the UK for a very long time, because all etymology entries for it that I have read have a certain hopeful vagueness about them that suggests the etymologist was aware this was a word whose first written record was bloody unlikely to be its first outing.

I attribute its longevity to the fact that it's an extremely satisfying word: "Bloody hell!" has probably relieved British feelings for even longer than oh, fukkit.

von: I had always assumed it was derived from some expletive like 'sblood!, shortened from 'by God's blood!' (likewise zounds! = 'by God's wounds!'), and thus came under the heading of sacrilege/taking the name of the Lord (or: his blood) in vain. However, Wikipedia isn't sure of this, suggesting instead that it's a shortening of 'by our Lady!'.

Sacrilege either way, though.

cross-posted with Anarch and Jes, obviously ;)

And now thanks to Slarti, I've got that song stuck in my head also.

Makes the popping noise take on some surreal qalities, let me tell you.

Hilzoy: However, Wikipedia isn't sure of this, suggesting instead that it's a shortening of 'by our Lady!'.

Phonetically unlikely. It looks sort of similar, but it doesn't sound right.

Me: for even longer than

Actually, f**k is probably older than bloody, now I think about it (and confirm thinking with looking up in an online etymology dictionary). But hard to confirm, because f**k tended to shyly avoid being written down.

So here's a perhaps hilarious, perhaps highly offensive video about naughty euphamisms. Probably nsfw.

video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2874453733033907393

"Since we've touched on British cursewords, would someone, anyone, explain to me why the English consider "bloody" to be something of an emphatic and/or a mild curse?"

Royal hemophilia is the traditional famous explanation. Others say it relates to the "blood of God" or the blood of Jesus. Others that it's from "Bloody Mary," as in Queen Mary's persecution of (thread cross-over!) Catholics. There's no clear answer.

See here and here.

Actually, f**k is probably older than bloody,

Without question. Earliest cite from the OED for "bloody" in an expletive sense is 1785; "f**k", however, goes back to 1505 -- in the form "fukkit", believe it or not -- and I can't imagine, given human nature, that people weren't using it as an expletive long before that.

[That said, the OED's earliest citation for "f**k" as an expletive is from Ulysses in 1922 so who knows? Maybe Joyce truly was a pioneer of language...]

And, of course, when all else fails, turn to Wikiality.

I like the alternative name for "kestrel," though it possibly won't be taken up by bird-watchers.

Thanks, all.

The ultrasound technician called it a CHEESEBURGER, but I don’t want her to have to think about her vagina every time she pulls up to a drive-thru.

Our ultrasound technician said it looked like a hot dog bun. This wasn't The Name Used, however, just a description of what kind of shape to look for when determining sex via ultrasound.

This thread is more fun than people should be allowed to have. A couple of covered dishes for the potluck:

Re the main topic: reminds me of the episode of Arrested Development where Michael finds out that the family owns a yacht called the Seaward, which they can't afford to keep. The mother overhears him telling GOB, "Get rid of the Seaward," and responds, "I'm not going anywhere."

Re "bloody": don't know the origin, but in Shaw's play Pygmalion, there's a bit in the first act that suggests that at the time "bloody" was fairly new as an intensifier, at least among the middle class, and considered much more shocking than "damned."

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