Is it Irish to be Cuil?

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Wed Jul 30 17:14:06 UTC 2008

In a message dated 7/30/08 12:08:47 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

> Well, in French _cul_ is 'ass' (with the fundament, not donkey
> reference) or 'arse' if you prefer, but I'm not sure the pun really
> comes up since the pronunciation is /ky/ (with a front-rounded vowel
> and no final consonant).  In any case, _cul_ appears elsewhere with
> the obscene meaning bleached out, as in _cul de sac_ 'dead end', lit.
> 'bag's ass'.  I guess _culo_ would be more problematic, but Romance
> speakers must be used to English speakers saying _cool_, after all.
> LH

I have heard jokes that hinged on treating "cul de sac" as if it literally 
translated as 'bag of assholes', though they may have originated with 
pseudosophisticated elitist English speakers who did not like their neighbors on the 

Spanish speakers may be used to Americans saying "cool" = 'fine', but that 
doesn't mean that they don't laugh at us (or, for the less enlightened, find us 
gratuitously insulting). Comparably (?), "asoleado" may mean 'sunny' in 
Spanish, and "A Sol" might be a good trademark for a French bank, but neither would 
be a very good name for a product marketed in the USA, I'd think.

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