The meta-euphemism

Over in the ADS mailing list, Randy Alexander reports on a development in the world of euphemisms, in particular euphemisms for (male) masturbation. Based on the playful pattern in

spanking the monkey, choking the chicken, beating the bishop, jerkin’ the gherkin, …

and hundreds of others (there are websites devoted to these things), some people have moved up one level, to verbing the noun. As the commenter Hypno-Toad said on the Straight Dope message board on 11/20/06,

My roomie and I decided many years ago that really just about any verb and noun can be used in this sense. We just call it “Verbing the Noun.”

Alexander’s finds:

[with reference to the website ChatRoulette, which brings strangers face to face via webcam] If it’s as much of an endless stream of guys verbing the noun as is claimed, it might be a neat CBT [Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy] tool for inducing social anxiety. (link)

[heading for a blog discussion about programs that generate euphemisms] Verbing the Noun, if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink (link)

4 Responses to “The meta-euphemism”

  1. rhhardin Says:

    Imus’s Rob Bartlett wondered if pounding the flounder would serve for both male and female.

    There’s more to it than verbing the noun.

  2. John Lawler Says:

    True.
    However, if it could become popular, it might help distinguish ‘verb’ from ‘noun’ in popular culture, and — even better — might make grammar sound sexy. Anything is better than the current situation.

  3. Joshua Zucker Says:

    I still think the best euphemism, drawing from Joycelyn Elders’s situation about 15 years ago, is “Firing the surgeon general”. The Foremen do a great song introducing this one.

    http://www.royzimmerman.com/lyrics/best_firing.html

  4. How can I put this? « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Courting the gay vote is a euphemism for engaging in, or soliciting, gay sex (of some kind, not specified, though receptive fellatio — sucking cock — is the most likely act). It falls into a pattern of ostentatiously playful euphemisms of the form Ving the N, especially for reference to male masturbation (my favorite is firing the Surgeon General); there’s a huge list of euphemisms for masturbation, many of them of this form, here; some discussion of display through concealment in these euphemisms here; and a note on the extension to the meta-euphemism verbing the noun here. […]

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