early "tits"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 11 05:15:13 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> "bubs"

I didn't come across this particular use of the sound, [b^bz], till I was
about to graduate from high school in 1954. Since it was spoken be a fellow
colored fellow, I thought that he had said "bulbs." However, context made
clear that he was talking about the breasts of a girl on the bus with us
and, of course, "bulbs" makes  perfect semantic sense.

As it happen, this was a hapax. After years of never hearing this spoken,
again - still true as of this nanosecond - while, thanks to the loosing of
the bonds of censorship, finding many hundreds of examples of "bubs" in
print and none of "bulbs" in the relevant sense, I have come to realize
that there is no slang-term, "bulbs," meaning "breasts," in B, or in any
other variety of, E.

Why not, I wonder? It's so obvious and the two words, in some dialects, are
indistinguishable. "Boody" was immediately "corrected" to "booty." Yet,
AFAIK, "bub" lives on.


However, almost amusingly, the UD has the following:


What your mother calls a tit.

"Don't pinch my bulb."

by christine February 06, 2004

I would not be surprised to discover that her mom does, in fact, use "bub,"
"bub" as "breast" being as unknown to the UD as it once was to me.



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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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