"merkin" 1682 [not the wig; not "Amerkin"]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jan 18 00:44:58 UTC 2008

But the unlucky Dog of a Carver sent them back again two chopping
Girles with Merkins exposed. This enraged the Justice more, and the
Sign was summoned before the wise Court, where they gravely
determined (to keep the Girles from blushing) they should have Roses
clapt upon their Merkins; which is the original of our new Proverb,
Under the Rose a Merkin.

merkin sense 1.a = female pudendum.

J.W.  A Letter from New-England Concerning their Customs, Manners,
and Religion. [etc.]  London: Printed for Randolph Taylor near
Stationers Hall, 1682.  Page 9.  [Accessible via EEBO.]

The proverb is in, and only in, Whiting, "Early American Proverbs and
Proverbial Phrases", p. 372; and Miller, "The New England Mind: From
Colony to Province", p. 139 [according to Google Web, Books, and
Scholar].  In ADS-L archives, no mention of "merkin and 1682".

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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