Redux: "jump" /= copulate" in 1720s

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Dec 18 14:59:59 UTC 2005

I regret to report that "jump" = "copulate" for the 1720s appears to
be a 20th century error (or a mis-something-or-other; I'm sure
someone on this list will tell me what the proper word is).

The 1972 writer (Gerald W. Mullin, "Flight and Rebellion", Oxford
University Press) wrote:

      To these observations he added ... a note on rams who 'jump 50
or 60 sheep' in one night: 'this denotes a prodigious natural vigor
... how short do poor men fall of these Feats.'

"The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover", edited by
Kevin Berland, Jan Kirsten Gilliam, and Kenneth A. Lockridge (Chapel
Hill, 2001) has (p. 176):

      T'is a Common thing for Rams to tup 50 or 60 Sheep in one night ...

So it was actually an ancient and honorable word that he used (that
is, one dating from at least a century before Byrd).


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