Confirmed Bachelor

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 22 08:17:10 UTC 2001

>Maybe I'm just naive, but I've never associated
>"bachelor" or "confirned bachelor" with homosexual.
The evidence from web sites suggests that "confirmed bachelor"
nevertheless HAS been used for some time as a partly conventionalized
euphemism for gay men, although it hasn't ONLY been used in this way.
(Compare the two senses of "drink".)  It's the latter fact, the
persistence of the "innocent" meaning (IIRC, one of our family
stories is that my father was a "confirmed bachelor" of 34 when he
met my mother, and since he had been "keeping" a series of
"mistresses", no allusion to sexual orientation was involved; ditto,
one presumes, for MFL's 'enry 'iggins, "a confirmed old bachelor and
likely to remain so", with no raised eyebrows involved) that keeps
the euphemism a euphemism.  Compare, on the other hand, the verb
"baiser" in French, which no longer serves a euphemism for 'to fuck',
because taboo avoidance has wiped out the original meaning, 'to kiss'.


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