[Ads-l] Dialect clash: _shlong_

Wed Dec 21 10:39:41 EST 2016

The messy stunt meaning of "schlong" can be antedated to 1951 by a UP article, which was in the Baytown (Tex.) Sun (Oct. 4, 1951), and also other newspapers.  The article discusses the language of television and also has some other antedatings, which I will write about in a separate post.

"Schlong - An expression originated by quiz show Producers Bill Todman and Mark Goodson to describe acts involving pie throwing, squirting whipped cream into faces or anything generally regarded as messy."  

A different meaning of "schlong" is given in an article in the Altoona (Pa.) Tribune (Dec. 11, 1946), describing an event in 1825 in which an Indian was pursued by a posse and hid in a cave full of snakes.  The posse was scared of the snakes, and the harmless Indian subsequently escaped.

"As they drew near he began to hiss as loud as a hundred snakes, and the real "schlongs" as the old Dutch people called them, joined in the chorus.  No one would venture in; it was "Dutch bluster" to kill a poor old, tottery Indian, who had done no worse than to be General Harry L. Bouquet's mess-boy or cook but to lie on one's belly and go in head first to a serpentine mass-meeting was different; louder and louder hissed the snakes, and if any courage had existed among the posse it "oozed out of their feet."

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Ben Zimmer
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: Dialect clash: _shlong_

On Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 5:50 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> GBooks has the following snippet from 1967:
> A carnival of modern humor - Page 152
> https://books.google.com/books?id=jWseAAAAMAAJ
> Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, ‎Scott Meredith - 1967 - ‎Snippet view
> "But listen, old buddy. I got to beg off. I'm hung up."
> "Well, OK. I know how busy you educational-TV writers are. How's the show
> coming?"
> "Pretty messy. We're doing mostly _*schlong*_ stuff now and very little
> cerebral."
> "What the hell is _*schlong*_?"
> Unfortunately, the answer to this question is unavailable. And, since our
> word is here used adjectivally, the answer is most likely irrelevant, in
> any case. But...
> Youneverknow.

I can't see the answer to the question either, but from looking at other
snippets I believe this is a passage from "The Girl with the Bear Rug Eyes"
by Rex Lardner, a short story originally published in the April 1960 issue
of Playboy. And given the TV context, the use of "schlong" here is probably
related to a meaning that Garson uncovered last year:

1954 August 20, St. Petersburg Times, Radio and Television:
Television's 'Schlongs', Their Antics Described by John Crosby, Quote
Page 34, Column 1, St. Petersburg, Florida. (Google News
You know what a schlong is? If you have followed the careers of Ralph
Edwards or "Beat the Clock" or any other shows of that ilk, you have
seen a lot of schlongs. A schlong, to end this suspense, is a rather
messy stunt. A contestant gets a pie in the face. The audience howls.
That is a schlong.

> However, cf. the following:
> New American Review - Issue 1 - Page 139
> https://books.google.com/books?id=YzhZAAAAYAAJ
> Ted Solotaroff - 1967 - ‎Snippet view
> Mocked and mangled as his masculinity was, in a world of goyim with golden
> hair and silver tongues, between his legs, God bless my father! he was
> constructed like a man of consequence, two big, healthy balls such as a
> king would be proud of, and a _*shlong*_ [italics original] of magisterial
> length and girth.

As Larry noted upthread, this is from _Portnoy's Complaint_. Roth published
an early excerpt of the novel in the Sept. 1967 issue of New American
Review under the title "The Jewish Blues." Excerpts had already appeared in
other magazines (Esquire, Apr. 1967, "A Jewish Patient Begins His
Analysis," and Partisan Review, Aug. 1967, "Whacking Off"), but the NAR
excerpt may have been the first time Roth introduced "s(c)hlong" to the
world. So that means he still has the earliest citation date (antedating
CUSS 1968).



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

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

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