"blue"(English)=obscene. Why "green" in Spanish?

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Wed Jul 21 04:29:03 UTC 2004


Just so I don't misunderstand--the Spanish dictionary cites the "obscene"
(or some such) meaning from 1852?

As usual, I value your input.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>

> >.... Is the poster correct about Spanish?
> Yes. As for the fine semantic distinctions, I can only plead gross
> ignorance of Spanish.
> I find this sense of "verde" in the on-line Spanish Royal Academy
> dictionary from 1852 on, but not in the 1843 edition.
> >If so, why the color difference?
> I don't know. Compare also "pinku" = "pink" in Japanese which is somewhat
> comparable .... e.g., "pinku eiga" = "pink movie[s]" refers more-or-less
> soft-core pornography as I understand it ... something like "blue
> in English.
> According to my naive and casual speculation, the Spanish "verde" =
> "obscene" may arise from a sense like "youthful"/"vigorous", thence
> "forward"/"shameless".
> Again from ignorance, I speculate that the Japanese "pinku" might refer
> simply to skin, or to blushing skin maybe (a less mentionable possibility
> which might seem superficially plausible to some is actually unlikely
> The English "blue" is harder for me to explain offhand and I can't add
> anything to Quinion's piece right now.
> Corrections are welcome as always.
> -- Doug Wilson

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