Dirty words from the Civil War

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Mar 23 07:35:20 UTC 2001

>I have been reading a book called "The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell:
>Sex in the Civil War" ....

This is an interesting book. The "monkey", "trouser snake", and "stink
finger" citations look very early indeed.

>... she received about 60 big schlorgers one after another.  (p. 39, from
>a letter written by a
>soldier in a Pennsylvania regiment.)

What word is "schlorger"? We moderns may be reminded of something like
"schlong", but the period is too early to casually adduce Yiddish imports,
I think; German "Schlange" = "snake" has cognates in various Germanic
languages -- I don't know about "Pennsylvania Dutch" -- but one might
expect "s(h)lang" or "s(h)long" rather than "s(h)lorg" anyway. Perhaps
"schlorger" is simply an ad hoc or local slang term for the male sex organ?
Or does such a word exist elsewhere?

I wonder whether "schlorger" = "slogger". This might be an early instance
of slang "[foot]slogger" = "infantryman", known from late 19th Century to
present. "Slog" has been occasionally rendered "shlog", "slorg", etc.
["Slogger" was also written in the 19th Century for what we'd call
"slugger" now, I guess, and "slogger" is also used for "worker", for
"slob", etc.] I think the letter makes fair sense with "schlorger" =
"slogger", roughly equivalent to modern [military] "trooper" ... maybe it's
not a dirty word after all?

-- Doug Wilson

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