that sucks

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 28 00:07:31 UTC 2008

At 7:55 PM -0400 3/27/08, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>I'm not sure what it is that Dennis is remembering here from his adolescence;
>"X sucks" = 'X stinks' was not in use in the 50s, and not widely used until
>the late 60s and early 70s. Sounds like post facto codger
>etymoloogizing to me!
>If my memory is correct, people did sometimes say things like, "Does she
>suck?" meaning "Will she fellate one?"--but it was used only for people.
>I am about the same age as Dennis, and like him I remember being confused in
>the late 1960s at something someone had written on a bathroom wall: "The
>Universe sucks."

Wasn't the full quote


or "THE EARTH SUCKS", depending on your theory?


>But not merely because I could not imagine the universe fellating
>someone--this use of 'sucks' simply did not compute with ANY of my known uses
>of "suck" ("suck up to," "suck the gravied finger," "suck eggs," etc.)--except
>that they all were pejorative. There was no reason for me to focus on oral
>sex (and I think I have as dirty a mind as Dennis!).
>In a message dated 3/27/08 6:39:47 PM, preston at MSU.EDU writes:
>>  Us 50's kids (well, teenagers) knew exactly what sexual act was
>>  referred to; the first time we saw "The earth sucks," we didn't know
>>  quite what to make of it.
>>  dInIs
>Create a Home Theater Like the Pros. Watch the video on AOL
>       (
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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