[off-list] Re: [ADS-L] "fanny", n.4

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Dec 16 04:53:09 UTC 2012

On 12/15/2012 11:27 PM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
> ....
> On Dec 15, 2012, at 7:59 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> On Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM, Jonathan Lighter
>> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Cf. masculine "Roger" and "Dick."
>> Not to mention "Peter."
> and "willy"/"willy", and the family name "johnson", and the full name "John Thomas", etc.
> so far so good.  it's my impression that these names were first given by men to their own bodyparts.  what evidence -- especially from names *other* than "fanny" -- is there about who first used female names this way?  did women name their own bodyparts?  did men name women's bodyparts? or what?

I don't know for sure that it was [only] men who named whoever's body
parts, and I don't know how one could reliably estimate the respective
contributions from men and from women.

In recent times these names appear to be [mostly] male. But Farmer and
Henley show (for the female part) ... among _many_ other words ... a few
apparent given names: Aunt Maria, Black Bess, Itching Jenny, Lady Jane,
Madge, and of course Fanny.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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