Diddle (was: Mice-tronauts)

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Apr 29 02:45:23 UTC 2002

On Sun, Apr 28, 2002 at 10:41:50PM -0400, Baker, John wrote:

> 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:

HDAS has an 1870 example, as well as a 1767 quot. that's put in
brackets but presents a good case for being genuinely this sense.

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


Wow, that's just incredible.

Jesse Sheidlower

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