[Ads-l] feminine "cock" in England

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 20 16:36:05 UTC 2017

Nice example; good to know that the sexual crossover wasn’t invented by Southerners or African-American speakers out of sheer mischief (or myopia). 

Reminds me; I know we have a lot of examples (discussed on various threads of yore) in which the feminine “cock” pops up, as it were, in U.S. usage from at least the 19th c., sometimes alongside the more widespread masculine variant--as in that memorable line in Alfred Doten’s 1867 enciphered diary entry that deciphers as [spoiler alert for anyone who’s currently going through Doten’s diary and struggling with the cipher…]

“we felt of each other’s cocks all we pleased and then she got on me and fucked me bully”).  
(Entry for Oct. 29, 1867 in _The Journals of Alfred Doten 1849-1903, Volume Two_ [Reno: U. of Nevada Press, 1973], p. 957.

An interesting side effect of the dialectal restriction of this usage as opposed to the (presumed) non-dialectal status of the non-distaff one is that DARE’s “cock” entry has this lemma--
cock, n1
usu considered obscene

1 The female genitalia. chiefly South, South Midland

2 Sexual intercourse.

esp among Black speakers

—but nothing for “cock” = ‘the male genitalia’ (or rather ‘genitalium’)

I imagine a Martian or other foreign visitor to the U.S. of today, armed only with DARE (or a computer with only the www.daredictionary website access), getting into a lot of trouble.


> On Sep 20, 2017, at 11:35 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Seems I posted an English ex. from the 19th century at some point, though I
> can't find it quickly in the archive.
> This is from a traditional song collected in Gloucestershire in 1978.
> Note  the archaic use of "leather."  The diction generally is 19th C. Many
> texts of the song have been collected and printed (since the 1960s), but
> this is the only one I've seen with "cock."
> http://glostrad.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/151-
> Danny-Brazil-Crabfish-TheSC.pdf
> "She run downstairs for to piddle in the pot....
> Up jumped the little crabfish and caught her by the cock.
> "Oh husband, oh husband, oh husband come hither,
> The devil's in the chamber and got me by the leather."
> JL
> -- 
> "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

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

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