Archive for the ‘Language and the body’ Category


February 15, 2014

(The title provides a warning for the sensitive.)

On the 11th on Facebook, Greg Parkinson commented on steroid-induced gynecomastia, with this image:


Tom Kirkland followed up with:

What surprises me is … how large the fan base for bitchtits [is].

(introducing the slang bitchtits for gynecomastia; bitchtits would be doubly unsuitable for the New York Times, which treats both parts of the compound as taboo, unacceptable in print; also note the syntax).


Cod loins

December 7, 2013

From Ellen Seebacher on Facebook, this puzzling ad:


Cod loins?


Posture photos

November 9, 2013

From Chris Ambidge yesterday, an Ivy League nude posture photo — an image from an odd moment in American collegiate history. Here’s the photo with the naughty bits fuzzed over:

From Wikipedia:

The Ivy League nude posture photos were taken in the 1940s through the 1970s of all incoming freshmen at certain Ivy League and Seven Sisters colleges (as well as Swarthmore), ostensibly to gauge the rate and severity of rickets, scoliosis, and lordosis in the population. Harvard had its own such program by the 1980s. The larger project was run by William Herbert Sheldon and Earnest Albert Hooton, who may have been using the data to support their theory on body types and social hierarchy. What remained of the images were transferred to the Smithsonian and most were destroyed between 1995 and 2001.


Zippy on the brain

October 22, 2013

Yesterday’s Zippy:

Neurology is different in Dingburg.

Then there’s the name Pons Varoli.


Sexual -zillas

September 17, 2013

Scrolled past in the avalanche of spam this morning, a penis enlargement ad that promised to give me Cockzilla. Surprisingly, I hadn’t noticed this use of the libfix -zilla (from Godzilla) before — but it’s all over porn, straight and gay. And it’s spawned Blackzilla and Whitezilla, in which the cock is silent (but understood).



August 30, 2013

Some time ago on Facebook, several posters ended up chatting about the vocabulary for talking about a gay man’s anal virginity. The term cherry plays a central role in this vocabulary domain — taken over, like some other sexual vocabulary, from reference to women and their sexuality.


Brief mention: a genital portmanteau

August 29, 2013

Via Ellen Seebacher, a link to a HuffPo piece on

Cliteracy 101: Artist Sophia Wallace Wants You To Know The Truth About The Clitoris

Yes: clitoris + literacy.

Sophia Wallace isn’t the first to coin the word, but she’s made it into a big campaign.

Double double entendre

August 29, 2013

From John Wells this morning, this advertisement (“currently to be seen on suburban commuter trains in the London area”) for a pharmacy that supplies medication for erectile dysfunction:

To appreciate the ad, you need to know some BrE slang, which John has been kind enough to explicate:

As you see, the copy cleverly incorporates two ambiguities (double entendres). One is ‘tackle’, which as well as the sports term for “attack” is also BrE slang for male genitalia [seen recently on this blog from an Australian source, here]; the epithet ‘harder’ is applicable to both. The other is ‘keepy-uppy’ (also keepie-uppie), “the activity of making a football go up and down in the air many times without touching the ground, using short light kicks to control the ball’s movements” (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English), but obviously also interpretable as the maintenance of penile erection.


Kissing the rose

August 29, 2013

In a set of notecards, a reproduction of a sensuous painting, The Soul of the Rose (1908) by John William Waterhouse:


The woman is smelling the rose, but she’s close to kissing it, close to treating it as a romantic partner (in which case the rose is a  symbol of the lover’s mouth). Other, more carnal, interpretations are available to modern audiences, for whom the rose can serve as a symbol of either the vagina or the anus.


Youthful balls

August 28, 2013

A story that’s been making the rounds; I first saw it in “News of the Weird” in Funny Times; here’s a version from Yahoo! Lifestyle on June 11th, “Does your tackle need tightening? How George Clooney is inspiring men to go nuts and take pride in polishing their Crown Jewels” (someone at the site just couldn’t resist the language play) by Penny Newton, beginning:

If you ever hear a bloke talk about tightening the tackle, you could be forgiven for thinking that he’s off on a fishing trip with his buddies.

But chances are, his talking about something very different – and we’ve got George Clooney to thank.

The Hollywood hunk, who has constantly joked about getting his testicles “ironed out”, has sparked a new craze with one beauty spa saying they’ve been “inundated” with requests, reports the Daily Mail.



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