Who's diddling and how?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 15 17:46:35 UTC 2008

At 12:20 PM -0400 7/15/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>I think that it was into the '80's before I began to cease to
>understand "she fucked him" as other than nonsense or clumsy metaphor.
>And I still feel that it's really simply another example of "fade
>logic" (here I pun on the phrase, "spade logic," that a white friend
>of mine customarily uses, apparently without giving it a second
>thought, to describe the thought processes of non-academic blacks; the
>real opposite of "fade" is "shade," "spade" generally having only its
>literal meaning in blackspeak), pretending that there's equality,
>where actually none exists.

I don't see that, although maybe I'm a victim of my own fade logic.
But consider first of all the who's-the-aggressor variable:  If it
was her idea, if she made all the moves, if she pinned him down,
etc., then I have a strong intuition that Jane did in fact fuck John.
(Although I might also say she got him to fuck her.)  What if, for
example, John was asleep at the time (and having what he thought was
a very pleasant dream)?

Then there's the anatomical dimension.  There are (I'm given to
understand) strap-ons; if Jane uses one on John, who would you say
fucked whom?  And after all, we know from same-sex encounters that
the felicity conditions on "Chris fucked Dana" must in part be
determined by penetrator/penetratee relations rather than male/female
per se.


>"She fucked him [either by giving him some or metaphorically, though
>the latter sense is better expressed as 'she fucked over him']."
>"He fucked her [if used metaphorically, then the sense is better
>expressed as 'he fucked over her']."
>On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 7:41 AM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>>  Subject:      Re: Who's diddling and how?
>>  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 . . . .
>>  --Charlie
>>  _____________________________________________________________
>>  ---- 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
>>>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
>>>) 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,
>>>7. As she diddled herself with a candle,
>>>(Street of the thousand assholes,
>>>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!
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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