Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 13 04:16:03 UTC 2006

I recall that Mohammed Ali once punned on "Spinks" and "sphinx," both being
pronounced as
"spanks." Something about Spinks looking like the sphinx, making him "too
ugly to represent the colored people." In general, [#sfVX] doesn't occur in
BE of any register. I was certainly in my 30's before I realized that this
kind of cluster existed in any dialect of English. On those rare occasions
when I did notice word-initial [sfV-] in place of [spV-] in "sphinx" and
(historically-)related terms like "sphincter," I ignored it as merely a tip
of the slung on the part of the speaker.


On 4/12/06, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC <Bill.Mullins at us.army.mil> wrote:
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> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
> Subject:      Re: spinksterinkdum
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > >
> > > In "spinksterinkdum" I hear echoes of that trio previously discussed
> > > here: "hincty", "dicty", and "saditty". Any other possible
> > sources for
> > > the coinage?
> >
> > The form _spizzerinctum_, in various spellings, was fairly
> > popular in the nineteenth century in the sense 'vim; pizazz'.
> > Richard Bailey was familiar enough with it to use it in his
> > blurb of HDAS vol. I.
> >
> >
> I may just have a vulgar mind, but I wonder if the term has something to
> do with "sphincter" and "rectum".  I have a friend who pronounces
> "sphincter" as "spincter".
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