colder than a witch's kiss

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 14 17:59:53 UTC 2013

On Dec 14, 2013, at 9:54 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Isn't this simply a variation on the notion that witches were cold
> overall, had cold blood?  The variation that has I think been
> discussed previously is "witch's tits".  (Perhaps "kiss" is the
> polite version, having some phonological similarity.)
> Joel

Just as Popik > Bobik below.

The locus classicus, I believe, is "colder than a witch's tit", singular, so the move to "kiss" at least preserves the singular morphology if not the phonology.  And I agree that this is indeed a euphemism.

> At 12/14/2013 07:21 AM, W Brewer wrote:
>> Maybe Barry Bopik can deconstruct this one: "It was a blow that knocked me
>> colder than a witch's kiss." (Harry was hit on the head from behind by a
>> giant Moorish bodyguard wielding a rifle butt.)
>> "The Adventures of Harry Lime" radio broadcast 14 Dec 1951, episode 20 "An
>> Old Moorish Custom"; which episode was also evidently included in a 1952
>> novelization, short story #15.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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