jump = copulate with?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 18 18:06:45 UTC 2005

At 11:40 AM -0500 11/18/05, Page Stephens wrote:
>A friend of mine and his wife once surreptitiously jumped over a sword
>three times during their wedding ceremony on the ground that it was an old
>celtic or as I recall  more specifically a Welsh custom.
>Obviously a revival of an old purported custom

Re this custom:
I wonder if the sword the couple jumps over is not so much a phallic
reference, but one evoking the sword that would lie between and
separate a couple who cohabited chastely in a bed.  Supposedly this
was part of the courting ritual in various (chilly) parts of the
Western world, right?  So then the wedding ceremony permits the
couple to surmount or overcome that barrier (which admittedly might
have been easier to ignore during the sparking period than, say, a
chastity belt).


>I have never seen this done
>before or since, and since it was the second marriage for each of them and
>they are still married I guess it worked.
>Since they had been living together and jumping each others bones for many
>months I don't see any connection between the term jump at least in their
>Neither of them told anyone except their closest friends what they had done
>so that no one who might have been offended by this pagan part of the
>wedding ceremony would be offended.
>Page Stephens
>>  [Original Message]
>>  From: sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
>>  Date: 11/18/2005 11:15:49 AM
>>  Subject: Re: jump = copulate with?
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: jump = copulate with?
>>  James A.  Landau writes:
>>  >This suggestion sounds doubtful to me:  there seems to be an ancient
>>  >of a couple performing their wedding by jumping over an object  together.
>>  >Then, if "to jump" means "to wed", further sexual meanings are  not
>>  >impossible.
>>  ~~~~~~~~~
>>  I have a faint forty-year-old memory of a newspaper photo of  Jackie
>>  Kennedy & Aristotle Onassis jumping over something in the course of their
>>  wedding:  Eastern Rite service, perhaps?
>>  A. Murie

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