[Ads-l] "Desnuda"

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Sep 14 12:42:11 UTC 2015

I've had a notion to post on this word myself.  I will add to Bonnie's post
that the NYTimes has used the word without explanation.
Not worthy of your WOTY madness, but definitely an English word, however
briefly it flourishes.

I was within 2 blocks of Times Square last week, and didn't think to check
out the scene.  But I expect to be back there tomorrow.


On Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 10:34 PM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake <
b.taylorblake at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm not sure how much staying power "desnuda" has in American English,
> but it's recently seen a lot of exposure through its application to
> those naked, painted ladies in the heart of New York City.
> Perhaps my Twitter feed is just having a summer fling with the word,
> but I thought I'd at least make note of "desnuda" before it vanishes
> with the chill of autumn.
> -- Bonnie
> --------------------------------------
> [From Colleen Wright's "The Painted Ladies of Times Square," The New
> York Times, Late Edition (East Coast), 16 Aug 2015: MB.8. Online
> article, link below, is titled "The Desnudas of Times Square, Topless
> but for the Paint."]
> Mey Ovalles ignored the snickers of gawking boys and the smartphones
> snapping photos as she clutched her bra to her chest and her bare skin
> became an opaque shade of blue with white sparkles.
> She shielded her nipples until they were cloaked with brush strokes,
> though her curvy, sun-kissed body -- with the exception of a nylon
> thong -- was exposed to hundreds of passers-by in Times Square. She
> felt naked until she became a canvas of red, white and blue.
> This was part of Ms. Ovalles's daily routine as a desnuda, a Spanish
> word meaning naked that has been embraced by the women who strut
> around the Times Square pedestrian plaza topless and covered in body
> paint to pose for photos in exchange for tips.
> Ms. Ovalles is one of the newest participants to join the parade of
> seminude performers contributing to the carnival-like atmosphere amid
> the sea of tourists. "Oh my God, it's a lot of people who see me
> naked," Ms. Ovalles, 27, said. "It's too fun. It's totally different."
> The earliest sighting of a desnuda seems to date to the summer of
> 2013, according to posts on social media. But this summer, on any
> given day, there are at least a dozen young women, primarily Latinas,
> of all heights and body shapes, strolling through the pedestrian
> plazas, trying to capitalize on this suggestive performance art.
> [...]
> (Online version at http://tinyurl.com/ofodbyp or
> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/nyregion/the-desnudas-of-times-square-topless-but-for-the-paint.html
> )
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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

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