[Ads-l] Three rare(?) words

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 19 03:59:01 UTC 2016

As I was going to bed, this morning - a normal day for me runs from ca.
1200 hrs to 0400 hrs - a couple of words popped into my mind: _blindism_
and _cockhound_. I'd come across the word


only once in my life: in a story about the then still-Little Stevie Wonder,
in an issue of EBONY magazine published some time in the mid-'60's. Since
this word isn't in OED 2, of which I own a copy of the micro-edition, I
wondered whether it was a "real" word or merely a nonce term made up by the
writer of the article. Googling reveals only about 4,190 results, making it
relatively rare. One of the hits refs MW3. Hence, the term is clearly not a
nonce term.

The New Outlook for the Blind - Volumes 47-48 - Page 243
1953 - ‎Snippet view
Frequently, blind children develop mannerisms which, because they are apt
to be peculiar to the blind, are commonly referred to as _blindisms_.

_Cockhound_ came into my mind because it, too, is a kind of hapax. Back in
the '60's, this was pretty common in guy-talk in Los Angeles, but I heard
it used, one time, by my girfriend of the day, whom I'd known since were
both children in StL. So, I knew that she would have preferred to have had
her tongue torn out, rather than to have used that word, if she had had
*any* idea that "cock" was, in that word, just another term for "pussy"
and/or "ass" in the obscene, sexual sense. And, of course, such terms were
*far* more obscene, then, than they are now. Indeed, it was her using that
word that caused me to assert, in these very pages, that women know nothing
of slang, when I should have restricted myself to claiming that boojie
chicks of my congeries have a bad understanding of the various nuances of
male speech.

This word is reminiscent of _cocksman_, going back to '03 in the UD and to
1896 in the HDAS. The following may be an antedating:

Edmund Kean, Or, The Life of an Actor - Page 11-12
1881 - ‎Read
Miss O'Neill, Mrs. Siddons, and the illustrious Kean. "Kean's frenzied
method [didn't know that "method acting" was so old] converted Othello into
a savage." And what else would he be, I wonder --a squire of dames,
perhaps. ... Of course. _Cocksman_.

These words, in turn, brought to mind _ass-master_ or however you want to
spell it. This term is so rare that it's not in any of the usual suspects,
as far as I can tell. The only time that I've come across the word was in
1961, when I was stationed in West Germany. A barracks-mate was given the
soubriquet, "The Ass-master of Heilbronn," because, naturally, he wasn't. A
local Kellnerin, "Franzoesin" A.K.A. "Frenchie," of some repute, was always
trying to seduce him - or not; you never knew - because of his cuteness
factor: the smallest man in the unit, with a basso-profundo voice carrying
a pleasant drawl of North Carolina origin. And he was the only person that
I've ever met to use "yon" in place of "that."

Down home in Texas, the horse-opera cliche, "He went that-a way!" is "...
yonder way." Otherwise, "yonder" replaces "there": "It's a man down
yonder." "That thing was right yonder, a while ago." "Look (over) yonder!"
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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