"Nautch house"/"notch house"

Jonathon Green slang at ABECEDARY.NET
Sun Feb 8 08:51:55 UTC 2004

Like Jonathan Lighter, I have found citations for both nautch and notch with the definition of brothel. In the case of the former this can be nautch, nautch house or nautch joint. In the case of the latter, it is invariably in combination, again with house or joint. While the chronology of these cites - all 20C - does indeed suggest some form of conflation/confusion, I should add that in UK usage notch, for vagina, has existed since the early 17C; I have cites for 1613, 1656, 1660 and onwards. However it never appears in a brothel combination prior to 20C. Nor do there appear to be UK examples thereof. Likewise, such combs. as notch girl and notch moll, both prostitutes, are post-1900 and only US. My own feeling would be that nautch, with its roots in the stereotyped exotic and by extension erotic Orient, is most likely the root word, however spelt, for the brothel terms. Notch, in these cases being either mis- or quasi-phonetically spelt.

Jonathon Green

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