Exposure to language

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Dec 13 19:32:12 UTC 2002

>In fact, I've never brought up our old 'dish" usage in
>polite society, since I've always assumed it was narrowly regional and
>maybe even just my family's euphemism (but why 'dish'?).

Back-slang, I think: "shit" > "tish", > "dish" because it's recognizable.
I've never encountered this one myself, but sometimes the parents might
encode things this way so the kiddies won't learn impolite words.

>But now I suspect this was Randolph's meaning in Missouri, too, so it may
>be more widespread than I thought?

Randolph is quoting a story told in 1951 by someone who claims he heard it
ca. 1935. There is no suggestion of this double-entendre in the story as
published, so IF it was there "way back when" I believe it was lost and
went right by Randolph. The central point of the story was the irony in
"can't stand nastiness", as I read it. In the story as published the dinner
guests look askance at the dishes.

-- Doug Wilson

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