Bugger's grips

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Oct 16 13:08:10 UTC 2000

The quaint expression 'bugger's grips' apparently means "long
side-whiskers" or "muttonchops" or "full sideburns" ... apparently regarded
as potential 'hand-stirrups' for use during buggery/sodomy (i.e., during an
'alternative sex act').

This charming nomenclature is employed -- apparently with a 'straight face'
-- by Simon Winchester in "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder,
Insanity, and the Making of the _Oxford English Dictionary_" (Harper,
1998): p. 177 in the paperback:

"... their beards -- in both cases white, long, and nicely swallow-tailed
-- with thick moustaches, sideburns, and ample buggers' grips." [describing
the similar whiskers of Drs. Minor and Murray]

Certainly any expression which appears in a (sort of) serious book about
the OED must be accessible by reference to the OED itself?

-- Doug Wilson

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