"fish" (was Re: "moist")

Ron butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 9 02:14:22 UTC 2011

Do I understand your theory correctly? Is it that "fish" = "woman" because they are easy to hook? Or as sexually vulnerable as newcomers to prisons? Or as likely to be killed as new recruits in the civil war? Is any one of these more conventional than calling someone a "fish" if they seemed often to smell like fish when you were having sexual intercourse with them?

I think we are lucky to live in a world where such issues do not confront us. That doesn't mean it was always the case.

I would guess that more people believe that there is a fish/woman semantic conjunction than that there is a suck/fellatio semantic conjunction. Which doesn't of course mean that either is "the" etymology.

Sent from my iPad

On Nov 8, 2011, at 4:05 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> We can agree that _fish_ 'woman' comes from _fish_ 'fish.'  The
> semantic details remain obscure.
> An olfactory explanation of _fish_ would be far more plausible if
> dismissive, metonymic, olfactory  designations for  certain kinds of
> people were common, but they're not. While I've heard crude masculine
> allusions to the odor in question, I can't say that I've encountered
> them more than three or four times in my entire life as a guy.
> Non-olfactory terms for women, some highly disdainful, are of course
> extremely common.
> I believe that the alternative line of development that I suggested
> has at least the virtue of being more semantically conventional.  But
> the 8/7,000,000,000 of the world's population that really cares about
> this matter will have to draw their own conclusions, or else develop
> their own theories.
> JL
> On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 1:52 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: "fish" (was Re: "moist")
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> On Nov 8, 2011, at 1:39 PM, Charles C Doyle wrote:
>>> Ron wirtes, "I can't think of a slang term for codgers that is based on the putative urine smell of old people, but if there were one (there perhaps isn't only because  piss doesn't smell like anything but piss), I woudn't think of it as neoFreudian."
>>> Growing up in Texas, I always used to hear that Pearl Beer tastes like horse's piss (and I used to wonder who did the taste test).  Perhaps (reversing the direction of the figure) codgers could be termed "Pearlies."  NonneoFreudianly, of course.
>> Or as Pearls.  Allowing one to hold open the door for one's elders while announcing "Pearls before swine".
>> LH
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