Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Feb 10 20:03:19 UTC 2008

The reanalysis of "buttocks" as a singular is also supported by the
spelling "buttox" (57,000 raw hits) and the occasional plural
"buttoxes" (635, or twice as many as "buttockses").  Maybe someone is
now imagining that "buttox" is an ablaut variant of "botox"...


At 10:26 AM -0800 2/10/08, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>from yesterday's "wait wait ... don't tell me" on NPR, two uses of
>"buttockses" in reference to israeli soldiers who entertained
>themselves by mooning palestinians.  each soldier exposed his
>buttocks; as a group, they exposed their buttockses (parallel to
>"asses", "backsides", "butts", etc.).  so, a double plural, where the
>standard form would just be plural, regardless of how many people are
>"buttockses" gets 263 google webhits (with dupes removed).  most of
>them are double plurals --
>"thoughts on buttockses", "that wacky british royal family and their
>tattoed buttockses", and the like -- but some are pretty clearly
>references to one person's buttocks, as in
>   Cause like, you know, when you're poor, your nails aren't manicured
>and your buttockses aren't waxed and you're just altogether ewwwww. ...
>   Most thirteen year olds probably wouldn't want to talk about Benj's
>there are other cites that suggest that some people have reanalyzed
>"buttocks" as a singular, but as a synonym of "ass", "backside",
>"butt" etc. that just happens to have an -s in it (like "shingles" the
>disease, "linguistics", etc.):
>   This is because he is just the biggest, beefiest hunk of studly
>manhood ever to come down the pike, which in turn is why his buttocks
>is featured in every ...
>   ... his buttocks is covered with bright red bruises.
>that's not what's going on in the examples of "buttockses" 'buttocks
>of one person', which would seem to have "buttocks" meaning 'buttock',
>as in
>   I checked the damage to Alex and was stunned by the wounds the dog
>had inflicted on his left arm, his left leg and his left buttocks.
>   Dr. Douglas R. Johnson recorded a history of the claimant waking up
>that morning with pain in his left buttocks radiating down the left
>leg ...
>the standard system has
>   sg. buttock
>   pl. buttocks [used for one person or several]
>one reanalysis:
>   sg. buttock
>   pl. buttocks [of one person]
>   pl. buttockses [of more than one person]
>another reanalysis:
>   sg. buttocks 'buttock'
>   pl.  buttocks [?of one or more than one person]
>(this could be combined with the previous reanalysis to get a one
>person/more than one person distinction)
>still another reanalysis:
>   sg. buttocks 'buttock'
>   pl. buttockses [of one or more than one person]
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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