The "two Beastly Monosyllables"

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Mar 15 15:51:07 UTC 2013

Champion Jack Dupree, if I recall, has a song Those Greasy Greens, which
may or may not refer to collard greens -- somehow, I have a feeling that
there is a tenor/vehicle at play here.  ("Tenor/vehicle" suddenly welled up
out of the sludgepit in the back of my mind where I have buried my past as
an English major.)  In any event, there is a verse to this effect: Woke up
in the morning, my wife hutched me in the side, said get on up daddy, I've
got your greens fried.
If this doesn't refer to collard greens, then it might show that Farmer &
Henley was being studied back of town in New Orleans when Dupree was a boy.


On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:43 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> On Mar 14, 2013, at 6:19 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > At 3/14/2013 03:20 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> >
> >> FWIW, in Farmer & Henley the 850 synonyms for "cunt" are listed at
> >> the entry MONOSYLLABLE. The 1340 synonyms for "fuck" are entered
> >> under GREENS.  So "cunt" was even more of a monosyllable than
> >> "fuck", at least by the late 19th c.
> >
> > Fascinating.  But what are GREENS?  (And where in the OED
> > definitions?)  And why are GREENS less of a monosyllable?
> >
> Farmer & Henley don't say "greens" isn't a monosyllable.  It's just not
> THE monosyllable.  I'm in Potsdam and didn't bring my F&H with me, so I'm
> not sure exactly what "greens" signifies (when it's being used as a synonym
> for "fuck"), much less why they chose it among the 1340 (plus or minus a
> few) listed synonyms to serve as the point of entry.  As it were.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society -

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