Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 12 22:13:36 UTC 2009

I give the credit to Larry WRT the use of um- to signify a connection
with pornography. I.e., While um-surfing last night, I came across the
phrase, _baby-cannon_, used as a replacement for "vagina."

In fact, I heard it spoken by Family Guy's Stewie. IIRC, he said:

"Look at this! It reminds me of a (woman's?) baby-cannon."

This was celebrated as the cartoon's 1000th gratuitous reference to
the vagina. _Baby can(n)on_ is in the UD, but not in this meaning.
Indeed, in one case, it's defined as "(penile) package."

Oddly, the ancient _love-muzzle_ is missing from both HDAS and UD,
though both have _love muscle_. I learned the term in 1960, from a
sailor named William Loges from Trenton, NJ - referred to as the "town
without pity" by an LA DJ who called himself "Yo Brutha," though he
was white - for that time, a very strange thing for him to do; he
eventually went to prison for murdering his wife - who lived across
the aisle from me in the barracks at the old Army Language School. (In
those days, Army, Navy, and Marines used the ALS. The Air Force had
its own school.) When I hypercorrected this to "love-muscle," as,
apparently the entire English-speaking world has now done, Loges
re-corrected me and made a point of telling me that it was

I'm reminded me of the "cock" conundrum in BE and other SE dialects,
wherein the word *absolutely* means "vagina." As a consequence of
this, it was a real bitch, when it came to um-reading. Holding two
opposing definitions in your mind at once takes practice. Like, at
first, I kept having such strong He did what?!!! She did what?!!!
WTF?!!! reactions that it really interfered with my um-enjoyment of
um-literature. Even today, it's still somewhat jarring hwenever I hear
or read _cock_ used to mean "penis."


On Sat, Sep 12, 2009 at 11:00 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "um-weird"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Many years ago when the list was young someone began to refer to erotica as
> "um, literature."  E.g.: "The word maily shows up in certain sorts of, um,
> literature"
> Wilson may have been involved in this.
> After a while, it seemed reasonable to make "um" a prefix meaning something
> like "pornographic, erotic." Now it can be affixed to adjectives as well.
> That's Inglish forya.
> JL
> On Sat, Sep 12, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject:      Re: "um-weird"
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> At 9/12/2009 09:20 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> >Let me put it this way.  "Goblin Market" is so um-weird ...
>> Jon, would you define "um-weird" for me?  I assume, since it is
>> repeated thrice, you did not mean "un-weird" or "ur-weird".
>> Urban dictionary doesn't define it yet, but tells me that this is close:
>> Lyv     5 up, 13 down
>> A really weird person
>> Lyv is um weird
>> get this def on a mug Mug
>> by Lyv Feb 24, 2003
>> Unfortunately, Lyv doesn't tell us what she means by "um weird".
>> Joel
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
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