Diddle (was: Mice-tronauts)

Mon Apr 29 02:41:50 UTC 2002

        The OED considers the sexual and fraud meanings of "diddle" to belong to separate words; it traces the "to cheat or swindle" meaning back to 1806, but the "to copulate" meaning back only to 1879.  Still, it seems likely that, as with similar terms (screw, fuck), the cheating meaning derives from the sexual meaning.  If this theory is correct, then "diddle" must have been used in the sexual sense much earlier than the OED shows.  I can antedate it slightly, to 1877:

        >>I reckon you want to know how often I 'diddled' her, and all this. As near as I can recollect, I had sexual intercourse with her three times.<<

Duval v. Davey, 32 Ohio St. 604, 606 (1877).

        In finding this case, I also came across a notorious Florida case from 1943, which I can't resist sharing:

        >>The controlling factor to be determined is presented by appellant's first question posed in the following language:

        1. 'Does the one specific crime definitely defined and limited by [the sodomy statute] comprehend or include the action of a 76 year old, aged Indian War Veteran, feeble physically and mentally, in, after having met the two girls of 11 and 13 years of age who solicited him, went to his residence and there they both get on the bed, pull up their dresses and drop down their panties, when he in turn on his back in the same bed allowed them to diddle with his raglike penis, unerectable, lifeless and useless except to connect the bladder with the outside world for more than six years since the death of his wife, utterly incapable of either penetration or emission, and wad it like a rag into their mouths, and then, in his feeble and aged condition impelled by the irresistable impulse, in turn he would kiss and put his tongue in their little though potentially influential and powerful vaginas?'

        It appears to us that we have determined this question contrary to appellant's contention.<<

Lason v. State, 152 Fla. 440, 442, 12 So.2d 305, 305 (1943).  The court held against the defendant, not because he took advantage of two children, but on the theory that the "abominable and detestable crime against nature" includes acts per os and not merely per anus.  Note also the distinctive use of "influential."

John Baker

More information about the Ads-l mailing list