the new "euphemism"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 22 13:56:19 UTC 2013

On Dec 22, 2013, at 1:21 AM, John Doe wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 12:28 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:
>> I would maintain, though, that "euphemisms for the vagina" are not the
>> same as "euphemisms for 'vagina'".  (By deleting the article, you're
>> turning a reference to the body part into a reference to the word for it.)
>> The latter is, I agree, odd, although it might be argued that that's
>> precisely the much-needed gap that 'va-jay-jay' fills.  But "euphemisms for
>> *the* vagina", interpreted as 'euphemistic expressions to refer to (or
>> avoid referring directly to) the vagina', is not (as) odd.  Modulo the fact
>> that we're often not talking about the vagina here but rather euphemistic
>> expressions for referring to the vulva.
> It's spreading to the womb, which is already battling "uterus" for the
> attention of the polloi" "Careful! I have a baby in my vagina!"

Well, that would cut down on travel time.


> et sim. in
> chains of sitcom dialog with no reference to birth.
> Clearly, it's a case of the part for the whole.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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