It's a Nativity scene, you Putz!

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Apr 4 12:49:44 UTC 2002

>Yes, imagine my surprise when my wife (from Milwaukee) told me her
>favorite childhood doll was called "Molly Putz" (by her South German
>mother). I had only the "penis" sense for the noun, although I grew
>up (Louisville, 1940's) with the "waste time," "fool around" sense
>of "putz around." I guess I never questioned the etymology of this
>since "dick around" had exactly the same meaning for us river-rat
>flatland hillbillies.


>"Putz" in German also has the (popular language) meaning "a small child".
>Jan Ivarsson
>jan.ivarsson at

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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