Keister Island

In the 3/16 New Yorker, this cartoon by Jack Ziegler:


Giant buttocks instead of giant heads. And the outrageous pun keister on the rhyming Easter.

This is not the only exploitation of the keister/Easter relationship. There is, in particular, keister bunny, as in ornaments available from Cafe Press:


And on the Cop Slang website, we find an entry for keister bunny ‘an inmate who hides contraband in his/her rectum’.

On the slang term keister, from NOAD2, two senses:

1 a person’s buttocks.  2 dated   a suitcase, bag, or box for carrying possessions or merchandise. ORIGIN late 19th cent. (in the sense ‘suitcase, bag’): of unknown origin.

Very cautious. The Online Etymological Dictionary, assembled by a lexicographically enthusiastic amateur, is willing to speculate, though carefully:

“buttocks,” 1931, perhaps transferred from underworld meaning “safe, strongbox” (1914), earlier “a burglar’s toolkit that can be locked” (1881); probably from British dialect kist (northern form of chest) or its German cognate Kiste “chest, box.” The connection may be via pickpocket slang sense of “rear trouser pocket” (1930s).

(As for Ziegler, his cartoons have appeared on this blog four times before, with discussion of the cartoonist here.)

4 Responses to “Keister Island”

  1. Dennis Preston Says:

    Damn German. I’ve known the word my whole life but hardly ever (ever?) seen it spelled. It took me a long time (several seconds actually) to get back from the Easter pronunciation to the “keester” one and get the joke, in spite of its staring me in the face (so to speak).

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Yeah, English IE and EI are a morass, even if you stick to spellings of /i// Me, I’ve always thought that KEISTER was misspelled, but then it’s not my choice.

  2. Harold Fuchs Says:

    Should be kIEster if it’s to rhyme with easter. Same as that bloke Weiner who you Yanks mispronounce to rhyme with keener. About time you learnt to spell.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      English spelling is as it is, and the word in question is spelled KEISTER (or KEESTER). If we were writing in German, then the word would be spelled KIESTER (and the real name of Carlos Danger would be spelled WIENER). But we’re not writing in German.

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