The Dirty Word in 43 Down

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 7 19:29:41 UTC 2006

At 12:02 PM -0400 4/7/06, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>After all, condoms are pretty useful devices. Would CONDOM itself be
>objectionable in a crossword?

Only if the clue is "male contraceptive device".  It would be OK if
the clue is "product responsible for promotion of immorality" or
possibly "putative preventative against STDs".


>In a message dated 4/7/06 11:05:28 AM, dave at WILTON.NET writes:
>>  Clearly the condom sense is the root cause of the objectionability, but I'm
>>  not sure that people automatically think of a condom when they hear the
>>  word. "Scumbag" is a nastier epithet than "slimeball," not because of the
>>  etymology but because of the contexts in which they are used.
>>  "Scuzzbag", at least to me, is a minced form of "scumbag," and therefore
>>  more acceptable.
>>  --Dave Wilton
>>    dave at
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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