(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).

From Wikipedia:

Gynecomastia [BrE gynaecomastia] … is the benign enlargement of breast tissue in males. It may occur transiently in newborns. Half or more of adolescent boys have some breast development during puberty. Gynecomastia may arise as an abnormal condition associated with disease, such as Klinefelter syndrome, metabolic disorders, as a side-effect of medication, or as a result of the natural decrease of testosterone production in older males. In adolescent boys, the condition is often a source of psychological distress; however, 75% of pubertal gynecomastia cases resolve within two years of onset without treatment.

The OED2’s etymology: Greek γυναικο-, comb. form of γυνή woman, female + Greek μαζός var. μαστός breast.

Both parts of the compound are socioculturally complex. I’m c comfortable with each in some contexts, not at all in others, and it’s clear that usage differs according to who’s using it, in what contexts and for what purposes, to whom.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: