s---k pot, 1805 (?)

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Sep 7 17:04:29 UTC 2010

See Johnson's DICTIONARY: "STINKPOT: an artificial composition offensive to the smell"

The sense that STINK was thought of as somewhat vulgar is amply attested. One typical example, from the Boy Scouts journal (BOYS' LIFE, October 1920, p13):

[father writing to his son, speaking of tho odor of tobacco that the son seems to have acquired]: "Your Ma says stink is vulgar, maybe it is; but it's good plain English and it describes that poison gas you seemed to be carrying around with you, better than any such lady-like word as smell."

The expression, "That stinks!" was surely held in even greater disrepute--until "That sucks!" came along in the 1960s and reminded blue-noses of fellatio (though they seem not to have had the same sense of "That sucks wind" and "Don't be a sucker"--probably because they used those expressions themselves in their youth), at which time STINK seems to have ameliorated.

On Sep 7, 2010, at 9:39 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 9/7/2010 08:27 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> (Offensive children were occasionally called "stinkpots" in my playground.
>> Actual aroma was not an issue.  Sailing enthusiasts refer to motorboats as
>> "stinkpots.")
> Both attested to in the OED.  The former from 1854 (although said of
> adults ... "moralists") and the latter from  1972.  As I learned from
> passing through Smollet to "stink-pot-flinger" (1704).
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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