[my] junk

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Nov 23 18:38:06 UTC 2010

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at aol.com> wrote:
> On Nov 23, 2010, at 12:23 PM, Chris Waigl wrote:
> > On 23 Nov 2010, at 05:30, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> >
> >> I don't think it has enough to be WOTY, but it's certainly the Word of
> >> the Week. It seems to be the most popular euphemism associated with TSA
> >> patdowns.
> >
> > Oddly, I think it must have been on an trajectory of rising popularity before don't-touch-my-junk guy.
> > I'm staying with my partner in the US at the moment, and when we switched on the TV set last
> > night, we saw a tiny snippet of the TV show "How I met your mother". Presumably this
> > Thanksgiving episode: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1777828/synopsis . It had a plot line
> > about one character texting (*) a picture of his "junk" to a stranger. Unfortunately, neither
> > Melinda nor I can remember the exact words in which "his/your junk" occurred and that we
> > heard before changing channels, but both our reaction was to wonder when "junk" became
> > a common term in popular culture, the media and everyday speech to refer to male genitals.
> junk as genitals goes back at least 20 years. See the ADS-L archives.

Well, sure, but the question is when it became "a common term in
popular culture." There's at least anecdotal evidence that it was
rising in popularity in the lead-up to the "don't touch my junk" guy.
See, for instance, its recent prevalence on the sports blog Deadspin,
notorious of late for posting photos that Brett Favre's "junk" that he
supposedly texted/sexted to sideline reporter Jenn Sterger:


More junk-texting:


And here's an interesting reanalysis of the old "junk in the trunk"
expression (paging Wilson!) plus a bonus "go commando", in a quote
from the National Enquirer:

"'KEEP your junk in your trunk and stop going commando!' That’s what
the cast and crew of the Emmy-winning series Mad Men are saying about
star JON HAMM’s bizarre 'no underwear' rule!"


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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