The Language Log on "mung"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 10 02:56:13 UTC 2006



The word "mung" with accompanying disgusting definition has been
around at least since I was a teener in the 'Fifties. The definition
that I know is as follows:

Take a pregnant, female mandrill baboon that is as close as possible
to giving birth without actually going into labor or whatever it is
that such baboons do.

Wrap the baboon tightly, birth canal down, in cheesecloth and hang it
from a convenient tree limb.

With baseball bats or other club-like instruments,  carefully beat the
baboon to death, so as not to break either bones or skin.

Allow the dead baboon to ferment.

After the fermentation process has proceeded to a certain,
unpredictable point in time, a liquid will be seen to ooze from the
baboon's birth canal.

That liquid is _mung_.

However, I must admit that the twentieth-century gag reflex was
clearly somewhat stronger than that of the twenty-first century. I
don't recall that there were ever any suggestions as to what might be
done with the mung, once that it had been made.

-Wilson Gray

The American Dialect Society -

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