"tarriwag", 1784

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jan 22 23:54:28 UTC 2008

  Dunno about Taylor, but Samuel "Hudibras" Butler (1612-80) definitely used it:

  *1680 in Samuel Butler Posthumous Works in Prose and Verse (London: R. Smith, G. Strahan, J. Brown, 1715) 23: Old Harry's C--piece in the Tower...Whose Tarriwags it held long since.

  Bailey, 1724, defines it (pl.) as "Membra Virilia."  I think that is the more usual meaning.  A few additional 18th C. exx. are available. The U.S. form, "tarryw[h]acker," always refers to the penis AFAIK.


"Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:   ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
Subject: "tarriwag", 1784

I have "tarriwags" in 1784, clearly = testicles. Context available
upon request.

Apparently well known (Farmer, Partridge), and in the singular =
penis. But it's not in OED2, and I find few datings (and merely a
half-dozen hits) via Google. "Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and
Folklore" (Vance Randolph, 1992), claims "used by John Taylor 'The
Water-Poet' about 1615, and in Grose's Classical Dictionary of the
Vulgar Tongue (1785)."

What dates do the authorities have for quotations?


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