[Ads-l] "Boner" as sexual term versus word for 'big mistake' or 'funny goof-up' =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=93_?=post-1951?

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 10 08:20:03 UTC 2020

I'd been aware of the survival of "boner" in the sense of 'an
embarrassing error' or 'a laughable mistake', and sometimes a derived usage
that seemed to mean something along the lines of 'an over-the-top joke or
skit' (i.e. intentional rather than accidental humor), into the 1970s,
though it was already pretty rare by then.

This caught my eye:

Short version: a 1951 Batman comic is all about the Joker and a series of
his "boner" crimes.  It just overwhelmingly dwells on the word, in panel
after panel, in phrasing that looks too double-entrendre to be accidental.
I have to wonder whether the penile sense was already established slang by
this date, but not permeated enough that censors at the Comics Code
Authority would catch it.

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

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