Q: "fannying around" from French 'faineant'?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Dec 16 00:01:59 UTC 2012

On 12/15/2012 3:05 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> ....
> A correspondent claims "Fannying around' is an exact equivalent of
> the meaning of 'faineant' in French, despite OED."
> The OED claims for "fanny, v.2" -- "slang (chiefly Brit.); intr. to
> fanny about (also around) : to mess around, waste time; to act in an
> unproductive, ineffectual, or dithering manner" -- the Etymology  "<
> fanny n.4." [backside].

I defer to anyone who knows anything about French, but this strikes me
as a probable overstatement, analogous to the assertion that (staying in
English) "fooling around" is 'exactly equivalent' to "lazy".

I don't mean to suggest that there absolutely cannot be an etymological

Note however "assing around"/"arsing about".

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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