Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon May 10 18:47:10 UTC 2010

*"He hurt his left head"?  Surely not, Ron!

". . . left butt" might be a little different, since "butt" seems sort of like an abbreviation or synonym for "buttock" (which our students now, for some reason, all pronounce [b at tak] instead of [b at d@k]).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 17:41:41 +0000
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of ronbutters at AOL.COM)>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>I didn't understand the problem at first because it seemed perfectly natural to me to interpret this as meaning 'left side of his groin'.  I'm not sure why this is so easy for me, but  "left head" and "left butt" elicit the same (Gricean?) response.

>Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>Date:         Mon, 10 May 2010 12:07:41
>Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] groin
>An inveterate jock and sports fan myself, I would never refer to a ruptured testicle as a "groin injury." (I wouldn't even dare think about one of those!) A groin injury is a pulled muscle in the area of a man's (or, I suppose, a woman's) sole groin.  The question was whether it's idiomatic to speak of a person's having TWO groins (left and right).
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 10:31:59 -0400
>>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>)>
>>On 5/10/10 10:20 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>>> In the sports section of yesterday's newspaper, an Atlanta Braves outfielder was said to be suffering from an injury to his "left groin." The phrasing immediately moved me to wonder, "How many does his have?" I certainly would have said the "left side of his groin."
>>> Evidently, however (judging from the OED attestations of the noun), in the 16th century and earlier one could have multiple groins . . . .
>>In sports-injury-speak, a groin injury is an injury to a lower-abdominal
>>muscle or tendon, so the left or right business would refer to which
>>side of the pelvis the injured muscle attaches to. (/anatomical handwaving)
>>What lay observers like us would normally think of as a groin injury is,
>>instead, referred to more descriptively as "a (nearly-)ruptured
>>testicle". See
>>for current examples.
>>Alice Faber

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