that sucks

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Mar 28 16:02:15 UTC 2008

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 10:29 PM,  <ronbutters at> wrote:
>  It has been pointed out on ADS-L that records exist of Viet Nam war graffiti saying
> things like, "The army sucks cock." This indicates that SOME people of that era made
> the association. This does not, however, prove that the fellation connotations were
> THE source (which came first, the pejorative egg or the cock-sucking chicken?), and
> certainly not that all teenagers in the 1950s "knew" that "X sucks" "meant" "X sucks
> cock" (or "shit") even before the expression was in use.

For reference, here's the ADS-L thread where I noted the "Army sucks
(cock)" graffiti, scribbled on bunk canvases c1966-69:

The Vietnam Graffiti Project is searchable here:
(click on "Search the Canvases")

Searching on "suck" turns up 113 canvases (out of a total of 399).

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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