Another non-metaphor

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 2 01:12:34 UTC 2014

On Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 9:24 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at>

> See HDAS for "duck butter," which I've never heard used and which would
> seem more likely to mean "semen," at least originally.

I saw HDAS, but, in the environment in which I heard "duck butter," there
could be no doubt that "semen" was [kOm]. This pronunciation caused me to
perceive the spelling as _caum_. This perceived spelling, decided upon when
I was but a mere tad (an Australian friend considers "tad" to be one of the
coolest words of American English, leading to her adoption of "when ...
tad" as a favorite catchphrase. Youneverknow.) of eleven, in turn, blocked
the realization that [kOm] was merely the local pronunciation of "come,"
nothing more and nothing less, for at least the next half-century. This
mispreapprehension was greatly aided by the fact that the verb, "caum," had
"caumed" [kOmd] as its past, whereas the verb, "come," likewise pronounced
[kOm], had "came," pronounced approx. [kaIm], as its past.

By contrast, only *very* recently has "cum, cummed" come to replace "come,
came" in the literary world. Instances of "come, came" are still out there.

IAC, smegma *looks* like butter. Or like oleomarjareen, anyway.

Besides, FWIW, Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris's "Keep On Churnin' (Till the
Butter Comes)" wasn't released till 1952, by which time I hadn't lived in
Marshall since 1949.

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 -

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