[Ads-l] 19th C. "screw"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 19 14:43:17 EST 2016

Sexual "screw," v., is attested in the 18th C., but exx. are
extraordinarily rare till the mid-20th.

Here's a U.S. ex., from 1870-1873, cited by B. R. Burg from the diary of
navy petty officer Philip Van Buskirk (_Rebel at Large_ [2009], p.135):

"[They say he] screwed his girl twelve times."

Sociological note: Van Buskirk writes (p. 135) that the wardroom
conversation of mostly upper-crust American naval officers in the
mid-Victorian era was largely of "Woman - woman - woman - whores - whores -
whoring. ...And the language of these recitals!...I have not yet the
hardihood to write verbatim any part of the amatory recitals which make up
the conversation of our officers and their friends."

"Drinking and eating" were the remaining non-professional topics
(automobiles and CDs not yet having been invented).

Cf. my long-ago post about bad language during the Civil War, as well as
the recent one about "a sailor without a knife."


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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