Query: "birds and bees"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 15 23:55:53 UTC 2006

Uh, John, birds reproduce by fucking. The only difference is that the
fertilized egg completes its development outside of the mother's body. I
don't think embarrassed parents would have wanted to go there, right off the


On 2/15/06, Baker, John <JMB at stradley.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Query: "birds and bees"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>         The rationale is that, stereotypically, parents explaining sex
> to their children would begin by discussing how birds and bees
> reproduce.  I don't know how this began; perhaps there was an old
> parenting manual that suggested taking this approach?
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:16 PM
> Subject: Query: "birds and bees"
> Today in my Etymology class a student asked me about the rationale for
> the expression "the birds and the bees."  I mentioned that it's a
> euphemism for "sex/reproduction," but is there anything else to add?
> When did the expression first appear, and why specifically where the
> birds and bees selected?  Why not, for example, rabbits and lizards? Or
> chipmunks?
> Gerald Cohen
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