pink taco etc.

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Fri Dec 3 17:00:50 UTC 2010

Re "Plumed Serpent":

From: Ronald Butters

The terms I asked about are all relatively obscure metaphors for human
genitalia ("plumed" refers to foreskin).

"Tube steak" yes (though I'm not sure how obscure this is) and I'm prepared
to take "Pink Taco" on trust, both confirmed by Urbandictionary,  but
"Plumed Serpent"?

It doesn't occur in unrbandictionary, and while the majority of the early
google hits are, as expected, to the title of D.H.Lawrence's novel (1926),
there are enough others in a variety of contexts to suggest that the
(possible) sexual reference is so obscure as not to figure as a possible

I am prepared to be corrected on this, but the cursory search I've performed
might indicate that Ron's analysis (above) of the phrase involves the
application of folk etymology to a non-existent term.



United States trademark law forbids the registration of what the statute
terms "obscene" and/or "scandalous" terms. Determination of how well a mark
fits the grounds for rejection involves both what current speakers think of
as "obscene" and/or "scandalous" and also how speakers of contemporary
American English view the terms that have been put forth for possible
registration with respect to whether they are "obscene" or "scandalous." One
of my research interests is the application of linguistics to trademark
litigation. From time to time, ADS-L gets inquiries from people concerning
research projects, and I believe that my little query fits squarely within
that tradition, which I have never objected to.

I will also disclose that this particular query is one that I undertook as a
favor to a law student who is doing a project that (as he envisioned it)
required the presentation of a linguistic expert declaration. He asked me if
I would be willing to help, waiving any fees, and I agreed, as long as my
participation the project had the permission of his professor, which it
does. Although I retired three years ago as a university professor, I still
am eager to help students when I can.

In short, my inquiry was directed for pedagogical purposes at serious
linguistic issues involving current American English--particularly, the
interpretation of certain slang/metaphorical terms as related to statutory

If Mr. Clements believes that ADS-L is not available for queries concerning
such topics, he is on the wrong list-serv.

On Dec 2, 2010, at 9:49 PM, Sam Clements wrote:

> To quote you in a post from less than a month ago---------
> "I have never suggested that anyone should go away. My theme has
> consistently been to request that people not treat the list as if it were
> a
> conversation space where anyone could feel free to report any mindless
> thing
> that happened to pop into their minds and report on every mistake or
> strange
> (to them) turn of phrase that they happen to see in seemingly endless
> hours
> of watching TV or listening to public radio."
> Why is your asking for moral opinions of a phrase NOT in the categories
> which you disparage above?
> Sam Clements
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ronald Butters" <ronbutters at AOL.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 21:11
> Subject: pink taco
>> Does anyone find PINK TACO an obscene name for a restaurant? What about
>> TUBE STEAK for a hot-dog stand? What about PLUMED SERPENT for a gay bar?
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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