Sunday, 16 October 2011

A Writer's A-Z of Sex

Last week's look at slang terms for drink and drunks meant I had to thumb through my Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang in order to fill in the gaps. In doing so I noticed one subject appeared again and again, often many times on each page. Whilst I could have guessed the most common reference was to sex, even I was amazed by the quantity (but certainly not the quality) of the terms.

At first I intended to look at female references in one post with male to follow. However in this politically correct world half of the terms would have offended somebody and the other half likely everybody. Hence I opted for the following, written from the etymological viewpoint and not just for a cheap laugh (well mostly).

A is for ankle sprain, derived from the French avoir mal aux genous, it describes successful seduction.

B is for brim meaning to copulate and once the correct terminology in describing the mounting of the sow by the boar.

C is for cleave, used to mean 'to be wanton'.

D is for dark cully, a man who visits his mistress only under cover of darkness.

E is for ewe-mutton which is defined as 'an amateur prostitute', (an oxymoron if ever I heard one).

F is for firkytoodle, a delightful word originating in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries and which is probably best defined here as foreplay.

G is for gay which, in the late nineteenth century, was actually used to describe heterosexual activity.

H is for hoddypeak, another word for a cuckold

I is for itch-buttocks, not what it seems but used from the sixteenth century for what is sometimes referred to as 'the missionary position'.

J is for Judische-compliment, a strange early nineteenth expression for it describes a well-endowed man with no money.

K is for keep-down-the-census, which is easy enough to understand when we know if refers to pleasuring oneself.

L is for leather-stretching, the act of intercourse.

M is for machine, a reference to the male organ and derived from the French machin, or 'thing'.

N is for Nebuchadnezzar, a late nineteenth century reference to the male organ and related to "take Nebuchadnezzar out to grass", a rather wordy alternative to the three-letter word 'sex'.

O is for orchestra, thyming slang 'orchestra stalls' being 'testicles'.

P is for pestle, the male organ (no prizes for guessing what a 'mortar' was)

Q is for quicumque, a very young woman of questionable morals.

R is for rigsby, another young woman of questionable morals.

S is for scolopendra, yet another woman of questionable morals and apparently named for the sting in the tail of a centipede.

T is for table-end, describing a couple whose desires are so great they are unable to wait until they have 'climbed the stairs'.

U is for under-petticoating, quite simply is soliciting but applied to either sex.

V is for vrow-case, a brothel and probably derived from the Dutch vrouw 'a woman'.

W is for whipperginnie, a woman of ill repute

X, Y and Z had me beaten

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