"erectile dysfunction" -- not for tender ears?

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Jun 17 04:58:14 UTC 2012

I read "spelled out" here as meaning "wrote out in full," whereas the legislature resorted to the initials when they restored the item in the state budget.


From: Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
Date: June 16, 2012 1:24:39 PM PDT
Subject: Re: "erectile dysfunction" -- not for tender ears?

He actually said, "E-R-E-C-T-I-L-E D-Y-S-F-U-N-C-T-I-O-N"?


On Jun 16, 2012, at 1:54 AM, Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Geoffrey Nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      "erectile dysfunction" -- not for tender ears?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is two years old but I just ran into it. For the taboo avoidance file:
>> State employees, have no fear -- thanks to the General Assembly, your health coverage will continue to cover drugs to treat erectile dysfunction. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) had recommended cutting funding for Viagra and similar drugs� The General Assembly agreed to restore funding for the drugs�But are lawmakers squeamish? When Kaine recommended the cut, he spelled out the words "erectile dysfunction." But in the assembly's budget, the pills are referred to more obliquely as "ED drugs."
>> Rosalind Helderman, Washington Post
>> http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/03/general_assembly_stands_firm_o.htm
> I'd have figured that anybody who's old enough to know what the words "erectile dysfunction" mean wouldn't have to be protected from them. Still, we're talking about the Virginia legislature here.
> Geoff
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