"dickhead" in the news

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Jun 15 22:57:01 UTC 2014

I would say that "prick" is vulgar whereas "dick" and "dickhead" are colloquial and not to be used in polite company but are no longer vulgar.

Both Wiktionary and the Mac American English dictionaries, however, classify dick and dickhead as vulgar slang.

As to the meanings, the Mac dictionary gives dick as short for dickhead.

Wiktionary has:

dickhead: A jerk; a mean or rude person.
dick: A highly contemptible person.

A very good friend of mine, however, takes pride in the fact that he's a dick, by which he means he messes with people. I would say Wiktionary's dickhead definition is closer to that meaning.

As to dorkiness, Wiktionary also has this:

dickhead: A stupid or useless person.
Example sentence: 2 + 2 is 4, dickhead.

The dorky meaning works better for me when dickhead is in the vocative case.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/videos

On Jun 15, 2014, at 3:37 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> The usual distinction is that a "dick" is often a dork, but a "prick" is
> always dispicable.
> A "dickhead," however, is generally an idiot.
> JL
> On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 4:59 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "dickhead" in the news
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> ------
>> On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 3:54 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>> how can we tell it was 'dickhead' and not 'asshole'?
>>> How can we tell that it was "dickhead" and not "dick"? Does "dickhead"
>>> provide the words or the music or both?
>>> _Khui_ is the word for "dick" in the relevant sense. But my very limite=
> d
>>> experience is that Russiam GI-equivalents say things like "ia ne khuia =
> ne
>>> slyshu" =3D "I don't hear dick," "khui tebe v zhopu!" =3D "a dick for t=
> hee
>> into
>>> thine arse!" (=3D "fuck you!"?) and others equally irrelevant.
>> Looks like it's =D1=85=D1=83=D0=B9=D0=BB=D0=BE (khuilo/huylo). So just "d=
> ick," I guess.
>> http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/top-ukrainian-diplomat-calls-putin-a-di=
> ckhead
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putin_huylo!
>> https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%85%D1%83%D0%B9%D0%BB%D0%BE
>> --bgz

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