[Ads-l] Antedating of "Suck" (OED, n.1 1.c., 1941)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 20 00:56:00 UTC 2022

I looked very carefully through the 1935 Read book, checking every term against the OED, and this noun sense of "suck" is the only term that they overlooked.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2022 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: Antedating of "Suck" (OED, n.1 1.c., 1941)

On Sat, Nov 19, 2022 at 9:47 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> suck (OED, n.1 1.c., 1941)
> 1928 in Allen Walker Read _Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western
> North America_ (1935) 79
> Who wants a real suck make date.

It's surprising this didn't make it into OED2, since Read's _Lexical
Evidence_ provides cites for three related senses of "suck" as a verb.

suck, v. 1. f. trans. With person or part as obj. Cf. sense 24 below.
coarse slang.
1928 in A. W. Read _Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy Western N. Amer._
(1935) 78, I suck cocks for fun.
suck, v. 15. e. intr. To practise fellatio (or cunnilingus). coarse slang.
1928 in A. W. Read _Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy Western N. Amer._
(1935) 78 My cock is only 10 ins long so if any one would like to suck meet
me here 9 pm.
suck, v.  24. suck off. trans. To cause (someone) to experience an orgasm
by fellatio or cunnilingus. coarse slang.
1928 in A. W. Read _Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy Western N. Amer._
(1935) 79 When will you meet me to suck me off?

These were all entered in 1986 for the OED Supplement, Vol. 4, Se-Z, as I
discussed in a paper for ICHLL5 (Oxford 2010), "Graffiti Scrawls and
Hip-Hop Calls: Coming to Grips with Non-Traditional Sources for Historical
Lexicography." Other 1986 Supplement entries with cites from _Lexical
Evidence_ include "shitty," "tit," and "turd."

Green's Dictionary of Slang now antedates the above sense of "suck" as a
noun with examples going back to 1870.

suck n.3
2. the act of fellatio or cunnilingus.
1870 _Cythera’s Hymnal_ 78: And i think that a fuck / Ain’t as good as a


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