"Cock" = rooster

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed Jul 5 13:03:07 UTC 2006

And, in the realm of iffy derivations, there exists a third
possibility:  "cock" as part of a firearm.

Shakespeare's Henry V includes a bawdy exchange among
the "hostess" and the low-thoughted trio Bardolph, Nym, and
Pistol.  Pistol declares (of himself, playing on his
name), "Pistol's cock is up, and flashing fire will follow"


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2006 08:53:24 -0400
>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Subject: Re: "Cock" = rooster
>Is the derivation that clear?  (OED2 merely says "perhaps.")
>And what do we say about Manneken Pis, which (according to
Wikipedia at least) probably dates to the 15th century?
Because both a cock (faucet) and a cock (penis) can both
pass water, therefore the latter usage derives from the
>At 7/4/2006 10:50 PM, you wrote:

>>Charlie, the derivation is from the "cock" that
means "faucet," now
>>obsolescent, if not fully obsolete, except in a few words
such as
>>"petcock" and "stopcock." The basis of my claim is this.
>>About a quarter-century ago, I was paging through a book
on homosexual symbolism in art. Among the examples provided
by the author(s?) was an engraving of a small group of naked
men in a large, indoor, public bath. They were gathered
together at one end of the pool. The perspective was such
that, at first glance, it appeared that some of the men had
their hands on the  flaccid, dripping penes / penises of the
other men, who were hung like horses. However, at second
glance, it was clear that the men were merely standing
around the cocks (faucets) used to fill the pool and some of
them just happened to be resting their hands on the said
cocks (faucets), whose shape coincidently and conveniently
happened to be like unto that of a flaccid penis.
>>That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
>>On 7/4/06, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-
>>>Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>>>Subject:      Re: "Cock" = rooster
>>>Not to flog a dead dolphin here, but let me reiterate:
>>>The question was not whether a male chicken
>>>SYMBOLIZES "sexuality" (in many instances, literary,
>>>subliterary, and iconographic, it obviously has). Rather
>>>was whether 'penis' was a denotative meaing of the
>>>WORD "cock" at certain points in history--a very different
>>>(though obviously not unrelated) matter.
>>>---- Original message ----
>>> >Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 20:05:16 -0400
>>> >From: Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> >Subject: "Cock" = rooster
>>> >
>>> >---------------------- Information from the mail
header ----
>>> >Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-
>>> >Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> >Subject:      "Cock" = rooster
>>> >--------------------------------------------------------
>>> >
>>> >Alison writes:
>>> >
>>> >On the Cock thread, no-one who has ever kept chickens
>>>be in any doubt about the appropriateness of considering a
>>>cock to be a symbol of sexuality.  Roosters whole
>>>seems to be wholly given over to strutting, bragging and
>>>chasing hens.]
>>> >
>>> >Not to mention abusing them. When a rooster is through
>>>a hen, he will strike her with his spurs, if she doesn't
>>>out of his way quickly enough.
>>> >
>>> >-Wilson
>>>The American Dialect Society -
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

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