colder than a witch's kiss

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Sun Dec 15 20:52:11 UTC 2013

On 12/15/2013 08:26 AM, Laurence Horn 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: colder than a witch's
> kiss
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  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.

I learned "tit" in this context as a euphemism for "cunt."  (1950s,
Kerhonkson NY area.)

Dan Goodman
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

The American Dialect Society -

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