early "tits"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 10 19:31:28 UTC 2014

> The cross-referenced "tit" spelling (s.v. "tit" n6), curiously, is said
to be "orig. U.S."

Not only that, but dated only to "1928."  Go figure. Which is why the
English ex. ca1840 is so vitally important to human understanding.

Note too that the {tit} forms sv {teat} exemplify (acc. to OED) not breasts
but nipples, whereas the exx. sv {tit} are defined as "breasts."  Go figure.

Another real question is why is there only one ex. of "tits" in the Bawdy
Songbook collection, and many exx. of "bubs" and "bubbies" (just one
modified vowel away from "boobies" and "boobs," also said to be of 20th C.

As a proud American, I've never heard these pronounced with the
English-English / U /.


On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 1:47 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:

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> Subject:      Re: early "tits"
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> "Tit" seems to be the historically normal version of "teat."  The OED
> illustrates mammary "tit" from c950 to a1825  (s.v. "teat").  The
> cross-referenced "tit" spelling (s.v. "tit" n6), curiously, is said to be
> "orig. U.S."
> Isn't the question "When (and why) did folks start saying (and writing)
> "teat"?  (The OED suggests French influence.)
> --Charlie
> ________________________________________
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ca1840 _The New Cockalorum Songster_, in P. Spedding & P. Watt, eds. _Bawdy
> Songbooks of the Romantic Period_ II (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011) 7:
> She gammon'd fits, to flash her tits.
> "Ca1840" is a little conservative as a date: the songbooks likely date from
> the mid '30s.
> This appears to be the only ex. of "tits" in the entire 1000-page plus
> assemblage, which includes numerous "f--k"s and "c--t"s (letter-expurgated
> but present nonetheless).
> The usual mammary words are "bubbies" and "bubs."
> JL
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