Antedating of "Oral Sex"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jul 15 14:26:51 UTC 2013

At 7/14/2013 09:32 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>On Jul 14, 2013, at 6:20 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > On Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 6:19 AM, W Brewer <brewerwa at> wrote:
> >
> >> <-linctus> (i.e. licked)
> >
> >
> > That requires the assumption that _linctus_ is necessarily the
> > 2nd-Declension Perfect Passive Participle. I've always assumed that
> > _linctus_ "licking" was simply a 4th-Declension noun, like _apparatus_,
> > which is not the PPP of _apparare_, though it looks like it. That's why the
> > traditional plural in English is _apparatus_ and not _apparati_. Hence, the
> > usually-though-not-necessarily-masculine _-us_ ending of that declension is
> > perfectly scrutable. The "dirty" part of the word is _cunni-_, in any case.
> > So, _cunni linctus_ "licking of [the] cunt" is hardly a euphemism.
> >
>Ah, but the use of Latin borrowings (cunnilin{g/ct}us vs.
>cunt-licking, fellatio vs. cock-sucking; defecation; etc.) is
>methodological or functional euphemism per se, no?

Yes, as was simply switching to Latin for things writers wanted to
disguise.  Cotton Mather switched to Latin when discussing his
intemperate last wife, who he was reasonably sure was reading his
diary.  Dorothy Sayers chose French for the juicy bits when
discussing Lord Peter's romance with Harriet Vane.


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