Who's diddling and how?

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Jul 14 11:41:29 UTC 2008

I can well remember a time--in my callow late youth, in a way more benighted time--when it sounded odd to me (even downright ungrammatical) if I heard "She fucked him" instead of the more normal (perhaps divinely ordained) "He fucked her."

Also, I once remarked that the locution "He was masturbating himself" seems redundant, and I was sharply reproved for my naivete and lack of imagination. Guilty as charged . . . .


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 00:13:21 +0000
>From: ronbutters at AOL.COM
>Subject: Re: Who's diddling and how?
>It seems fair to conclude that "diddle" means 'fuck'--one could substitute "fuck" in all of these uses and the meaning would be uunchanged.
>Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>Date:         Sat, 12 Jul 2008 14:15:20
>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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