Early taboo, subclass sexual, words

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jan 24 22:30:06 UTC 2008

"Stitch" was pretty common in those days for "screw" (unattested before early 18th C.).


"Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
Subject: Re: Early taboo, subclass sexual, words

At 1/24/2008 01:38 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
Farmer & Henley have cites for "knock" (v) 'to copulate' and "knock"
>(n) ' the penis' [but not 'vagina'] going back to 1560. They trace
>"cock" to Henry V, II.i (1600), but Shakespeare's use seems doubtful
>to me with the relevant sense. Their first unambiguous example for
>"cock" = 'penis' is Beaumont & Fletcher 1647. I don't find a bare
>"cunny" there, as it were, alongside their "cunny-haunted",
>"cunny-thumbed", and "cunnilingist" [sic]. Not to mention
>"cunt-pensioner" (= 'a male keep').

I didn't mean to claim antedatings wholesale for these. And we've
discussed "cock" before (see Jon Lighter); the 1663 is merely somewhat early.

OED2 has bare "cunny" from 1720 D'Urfey Pills VI. 197 All my Delight
is a Cunny in the Night, When she turns up her silver Hair.

As for "knock" = vagina, the following (1664) seems unambiguous:

She standeth up with horrid face / And thus she argues of the case: /
My knock doth piteously itch / O prethy Penion set to a stich. / His
answer being thus to her / I will not prove false to thee my dear /
But as thou didst desire me / Thy groaning hole Ill [sic] steech and
see / And looking on in strange wise / She wet his nose and pist in 's eyes.

["Steech" here I take as OED2 "stitch" (v1) = I. To prick, stab.]

Yes, allegedly from a Suffok County, Mass., court case file! Were
those Puritans poetic.


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