Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 23 18:30:00 UTC 2009

At 10:39 AM -0700 9/23/09, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at> wrote:
>cougar = a woman who dates/sleeps with/marries a much younger man
>(or in the case of Ellen DeGeneres, a much younger woman).
>This term seems to be popular now (i.e. in the last couple of
>weeks)---Monday "Entertainment Tonight" ran a lengthy segment on
>Hollywood's 5 top cougars, complete with feline metaphors.  However
>I cannot recall ever having seen it before that.  Is it a new term
>or is it my usual disconnect from pop culture?

Probably a bit of both, although as you say there's a cougar
explosion this new TV season.  This week's premieres include "Cougar
Town" with Courteney Cox (ex of "Friends") on ABC, "Eastwick" (after
the Updike novel and Jack Nicholson et al. movie) on ABC, both
tonight if anyone wants to do research (I guess it's a sign of my age
when I realize Ms. Cox counts as an older woman.)  Here's a piece in
today's Times on the phenomenon:

I did watch another of these shows for research purposes, the Jenna
Elfman sitcom vehicle "Accidentally On Purpose" on CBS last night,
and was rewarded by this wonderful contrastive stressed personal
Dialogue between Z[ach], a young slacker guy who just impregnated his
considerably older one-night stand Billie [Elfman] and is now moving
into her apartment because otherwise he has to live in his van in San
Francisco, and A, his fellow slacker buddy who's helping him move in.

A: "Dude, this place is sick.  What's that?"
Z: "An armoire."
A: "What's that?"
Z: "Kick plate."
A: "What's that?"
Z: "Sconce."
A: "\SCONCE/!? Sweet. I'm gonna knock *me* up a cougar."


The American Dialect Society -

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