Who's diddling and how?

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Jul 12 21:15:20 UTC 2008

Just as a forewarning, there are some pretty X-rated citations below.

The AHD4's definitions of diddle include:

1. to jerk up and down or back and forth
2. vulgar slang
a. to have intercourse with (a woman)
b. to practice masturbation upon

My concern is  the relevance of "(a woman)". Generally, I take this
sort of definition to be a remnant of older heterocentrist definitions
and intended to mean "to play the active part in sexual intercourse",
but it seems that not even that is adequate:

The Ball of Kirriemuir (http://www.turoks.net/Bordello/TheBallOfKirriemuir.htm
) provides 17 examples of diddle:

1. The village glazier he was there, with his prick of glass
He diddled 'em in their cunnys, and also in the ass!

1. the ladies wouldna have 'em, so they diddled dogs and trees!

2. The old fishmonger he was there, a dirty stinkin sod
He never got a rise that night, so he diddled 'em with a cod!

3. Clan MacChluarain they were there, chasin' round the Keep
And every single man of them buggerin' a sheep!

(insert name) had a gerbil, he diddled it very well
He didn't wrap it in duct tape: he blew it all to hell!

4. (Insert name), she was there, and she is past eighteen;
She is a rapier fighter, so she diddled Florentine!

5. Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean,
So she did the Fubba-Wubbas, while he diddled a Marine...!

I think this covers just about every male/female/animal pairing
possibility, demonstrating that diddle is not limited to just a man
having intercourse with a woman. And Wiktionary agrees, saying "to
have sex with".

Also, in Letters to Penthouse X (http://tinyurl.com/6feo6h, page 131,
2000), there's "cockhead...as she diddled her clit with it." While
this appears more related to definition 1 than 2, there are these as
well, which hint to the development of definitions 2 from 1:

6. She diddled herself [with a baster].
(The Sperm in Amy Lowe's Frig, by Roberta Price, http://www.prisoners.com/amysperm.html)

7. As she diddled herself with a candle,
(Street of the thousand assholes, http://www.odps.org/glossword/index.php?a=term&d=5&t=143)

I have trouble understanding what definition 2b actually means. Does
this mean to masturbate and ejaculate on someone? Do you "diddle on/
upon" someone? I think this is what Danny Glover's character did in
_The Color Purple_ instead of sex, though Whoopi Goldberg's character
called it "his business".

Wiktionary says "to masturbate (especially of women)".

Google has only a few hits for "he diddled on". Of the three citations
that seem relevant, only one is available:

1. He diddled on the ground and, at long last, looked up and said: let
him who has not sinned be the first to cast the first stone at the
I assume he's talking about Onan here, though in the text, Jesus is
the antecedent of "he". (What Should be Africans Attitude to Americans
War on Terror by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, 19 Oct 2006 http://tinyurl.com/5jxlbq)

Okay, no more diddling around. Back to work!

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

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