laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 5 20:08:09 UTC 2014
On Jun 3, 2014, at 9:28 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> On Jun 3, 2014, at 9:18 PM, Bill Mullins wrote:
>> Buchinger’s Boot
>> Not in OED. An
>> obscure euphemism for a woman’s vagina.
>> Matthew Buchinger (1674 – 1740) was a German dwarf with no arms or legs
>> (his penis was the closest thing he had to a foot, thus the expression). He was also quite the swordsman, having had
>> four wives, fourteen children (by eight women), and multiple mistresses.
>> Francis Grose. _A
>> Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
>> Second Edition._ London: S. Hooper, 1788. Unpaginated. [not in 1st edition of 1785]
>> “Buckinger’s Boot.
>> The monosyllable. Matthew
>> Buckinger was born without hands and legs; notwithstanding which he drew coats
>> of arms very neatly, and could write the Lord’s Prayer within the compass of a
>> shilling: he was married to a tall
>> handsome woman, and traversed the country, shewing himself for money.” ["the monosyllable" = cunt?]
> Indeed, whence "the M word". Well, maybe not, but the 7 or so pages of entries of synonyms (my copy is at work) in Farmer & Henley's _Slang_ (1890-1904) for what other lexicons of the era might have glossed as 'pudendum muliebre', mostly for English but a scattering for French, Italian, German, etc., are to be found under "monosyllable". And the F word? For Farmer & Henley, those options are collected under "Greens".
Just checked the above. "Monosyllable" (itself presenting an interesting use/mention quandary, given the polysyllabicity of "monosyllable") actually sports a 9-page entry in F&H, and the full header is "MONOSYLLABLE. (also DIVINE MONOSYLLABLE)". The explanation for the label comes at the end of the entry, from an 1823 cite:
Of all the thousand monosyllables in our language, this one only is designated by the definite article--THE MONOSYLLABLE; therefore do some men call it 'the article', 'my article', and 'her article', as the case may be.
By comparison, the other leading candidate for "the"-hood among monosyllables, "(TO HAVE, GET, or GIVE ONE'S) GREENS" (= 'to enjoy, procure, or confer the sexual favour. Said indifferently of both sexes'), takes up a paltry 5+ pages.
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