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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 19 20:09:37 UTC 2016

FWIW, Farmer & Henley (Vol. VI, 1903) has an extensive entry for _screw_ in mostly nominal uses (ranging from ‘miser’ and ‘turnkey’ to ‘old or worthless horse’ and ‘stomach ache’), among which we find (citing Grose):

8. (old.) A prostitute: see TART. Whence, as verb = to copulate. 


> On Dec 19, 2016, at 2:43 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 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."
> JL
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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