Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 23:39:06 UTC 2011

My grandmother (b. 1888) used "bellybutton" exclusively. Except for "navel
oranges." I couldn't understand what oranges had to do with the navy, but
she explained that "some people" called the bellybutton the "navel."  Weird.


On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: bellybutton
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> > "bellybutton"--which I had always taken to be a jocular nursery term, not
> altogether seemly in adult discourse.
> Absolument! Indeed, for me, _bellybutton_ is only a literary term. The
> shift from childspeak to adultspeak was from [neb@] to [nevl].
> However, given the current state of corruption in BE as a consequence
> of desegregation, nowadays, it wouldn't surprise me to hear a black
> person use "bellybutton" independently of a TV-show script. Since I
> grew up using _stummy_, it was a while before I was certain that I
> grasped the meaning of the slogan, "Tums for the _tummy_!" It is - or
> was formerly - the case that _stomach_  alone covers - or covered -
> all of the sE nuances of "stomach abdomen belly tummy."
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> 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
> Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
> or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
> trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
> that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
> idiotic or unworthy.
> –Kathryn Schulz
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