Whore's Bath

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 24 23:14:49 UTC 2008

I *think* that I've heard, with reference to males, "finger-wash your
junk" in the animated cartoon, American Dad. But, my ears not being
what they used to be, I'm really essentially just guessing WRT


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Whore's Bath
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 1:55 PM, Scot LaFaive <slafaive at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm getting this from "Austin Powers" where the hero mentions "whore's
>> bath" as a quick wash of the sexual essentials. I see it listed in
>> Urban Dictionary, but that doesn't really mean much. Anyone heard of
>> this outside the context of the movie, maybe even prior to the 1997
>> movie?
> It's in the new Cassell's and the new Partridge, dating to WWII if not earlier.
> Two cites from Google Book Search:
> ---
> 1944 A.J. Liebling _The Road Back to Paris_ 242 The helmet may also serve on
> occasion as a bathtub. The bather fills it with water, removes one article of
> clothing at a time, rubs the water hastily over the surface thus exposed, and
> replaces the garment before taking off another one. This is called taking a
> whore's bath.
> ---
> 1950 Hyman E. Goldin _Dictionary of American Underworld Lingo_ 237 Whore's bath.
> (P) A light sponge-bath, usually with cold water, taken in one's cell. [Note: A
> bath once a week is still standard prison routine even in the most progressive
> prisons.]
> ---
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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