More bad (and I mean bad) language from olden days.

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 4 04:32:01 UTC 2009

So, _cock_ has been used to mean "vagina" for more than a century. Was
the person who said it from the North or from the South?


On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:28 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      More bad (and I mean bad) language from olden days.
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> Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas P. Lowry has compiled several ground-breaking books
> on the Civil War based on exhaustive studies of Union court-martial records
> and other government documents in the National Archives. (Records of
> Confederate court-martials were unfortunately destroyed during the fall of
> Richmond.)
> By focusing on the seamy side of the war, Lowry's books, _The Story the
> Soldiers Wouldn't Tell_ and _Tarnished Eagles_, prove that humans were every
> bit as sick and obnoxious back during the War Between the States as they are
> now. They include numerous verbatim exx. of language that nice people like
> Julia Ward Howe never used, at least in print.  Lowry's latest book, _Sexual
> Misbehavior in the Civil War_, gives even more exx. worthy of
> lexicographical notice.  "Victorianism"?  These mid-19th C. speakers never
> heard of it.
> Lowry scrupulously refers each and every quotation to a specific record in
> the National Archives, so Jesse's team of verifiers should be able to
> confirm precise dates and details. I note nearly a hundred citations of
> lexicographical interest, most of them antedatings of entries in OED and
> HDAS by many decades.
> The following astonishingly sample, all from _Sexual Misbehavior_, should be
> dated to "1861-65" unless otherwise noted.  They reveal a world more like
> _From Here to Eternity_ than like _The Red Badge of Courage_. Dr. Lowry
> deserves our thanks for helping to set the historical record straight.
> P. 132 [1865]: "Let me put my prick in your cock." (Vagina.)
> P. 134 [1864-65]: "He put his pecker right into me."
> P. 156 [1863-65]: "[He asked her for] "some skin....a pretty question to ask
> a married woman."
> P. 189: "They...made him jerk himself off, made him come his oats."
> P. 193 [1863]: "I am in a bad way in regard to my eyes...jacking off is the
> sole cause of my disease."
> P. 193 [1864]: "Boys, there are loose women there where you're going ashore.
> If the doctor would recommend it, I'd let you go ashore and get your
> lanyards greased."
> P. 202 [1864]: "He...asked me to dub him off. He meant that I should take
> hold of his prick and jerk him off."
> P. 213 [1864]: "[He] asked me to let him go up my grummet."
> P. 234 [1862]: "[You] fuck ass....[You] good for nothing loafer."
> P. 235: "A Goddamned nigger fuck faced son of a bitch."
> P. 236: "You make me walk too fast. My bollocks pain me, you fuck with my
> bollocks."
> P. 237: "[Sergeant, you are] a damned old bugger, a cock sucker, and a
> bloody English Orangeman."
> P. 237: "[This breakfast is] a damned cock sucking mess."
> P. 238 [1862]: "Tell him to shove it. Tell him to kiss my Goddamn royal
> star-spangled jolly old arsehold [sic]."
> P. 239: "I advise you to have the top of your head taken off, the contents
> removed, and have some sensible man shit in it."
> P. 242 [1865]: "His flying jib-boom was as stiff as you please/ Which
> brought up in the stern of the clipper Louise."
> P. 246 [1865, personal letter]: "Oh say, how's your machine and do you ever
> get it greased? My pushing pole is all hunky. Boy, I had the best fuck while
> in Troy that I ever had in my life. I guess you will get your gudgeon
> greased pretty often. Did you say those folks were on it?...I would give
> much more to go up Susie's flue this morning....Oh you dirty
> would beat your meat for 35 cents."
> P. 250 [advertising circular]: "French patent safes, French ticklers, and
> French caps."
> Perhaps Lowry's most interesting find - though it's hard to pick just one:
> P. 233 [1865-66]: "President Johnson, you are a mother fucking son of a
> bitch."
> And the Word of the Decade, 1860-70:
> P. 63: [A case of] fornycaboogry.
> JL
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