colder than a witch's kiss

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 15 14:26:28 UTC 2013

On Dec 15, 2013, at 2:37 AM, W Brewer wrote:

> Euphemism vs. pejoration. Alright, let's play devil's advocate with the
> witch's tits. Which came first, the tits or the kiss? In witch hunts, were
> witches ever specifically identified by a coldness of bosom or by frigid
> osculation?
> The opposite argument would have a witch giving cold kisses (lack of
> interest in male suitors? lesbian?). Then the vulgar-tongued would change
> the expression to teats (bestial connotation) and tits (prurient).
There's a metaphorical link here with "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" (and its variants), and I can't even think of what that could be a dysephemism for.  So I'd go with "kiss" replacing "tit" rather than vice versa for the witchy version.


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