[Ads-l] Heard: _cush_ "vulva"

Christopher Philippo toff at MAC.COM
Tue Jun 7 15:05:02 UTC 2016

Tom Dalzell and Terry Victor dropped the mention of an Arabic origin from the entry: https://books.google.com/books?id=abYBCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT5168

In Partridge and Beale, the entry specifies “among servicemen with Near East experience: C.20. Ex Arabic. P.B.: in later C.20 remembered chiedly in the ‘soldiers’ Arabic’ phrase shufti cush, let’s see, or show, the cush.”  Any number of questions come to mind, including: Where exactly in the Near East?  Near East experience during which war exactly?  What’s “soldiers’ Arabic”?  Arabic slang?  Pidgin Arabic?  If pidgin, it could for all we know be derived from the English cushion as with the first entry under cush in that dictionary.

Three guesses below as to how one might spell cush in Arabic, assuming that “cush” was actually a more or less an accurate transliteration - which may or may not be the case.  The Arabic word masjid somehow got rendered into English as mosque, so who knows.

*  kha’ waw shīn starting two entries up from the bottom the right column https://books.google.com/books?id=E0ZhAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA637 

*  qāf wāw shīn startling at the top of the right column: https://books.google.com/books?id=E0ZhAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA1153

*  kāf wāw shīn starting seven entries down the left column:  https://books.google.com/books?id=E0ZhAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA1217

I tried asking Matthew Hunt, as the word cropped up in his dissertation:

“‘cush’ (Arabic, from which ‘kush’ is derived) […] Finally, thankyou to Bizarre magazine and the Need To Know website for publicising this dissertation, which was submitted to Coventry University on 8/6/2000 and awarded 80%.”

“the Arabic 'cush', 'kush'"

“I have a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Communication (film studies, journalism, advertising, etc) from Coventry university. I’m currently studying an MA in the same subject, again at Coventry."

In his e-mail response he indicated he didn’t know what Arabic word “cush” or “kush” was purportedly transliterating.  

I think one would have to ask native Arabic speakers about the matter to figure it out.

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

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