Control your johnson

(Lexicographic news for penises, but nothing more alarming than that.)

From a friend in the lgbt precinct of Facebook on the 4th:

Passed a Johnson Controls van on the way home from work. I’ve always said if you have to hire a company to control your johnson you’re in real trouble.

Remarkably, the slang johnson ‘penis’ seems not to have appeared on this blog. But first, the Johnson Controls company (which does not concern itself with penises) and the movie Bad Johnson (which is all about them).

Johnson Controls. From Wikipedia:


(#1) Power Solutions headquarters in Glendale WI

Johnson Controls International plc is a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Cork, Ireland, that produces automotive parts such as batteries, and electronics and HVAC equipment for buildings. It employs 170,000 people in more than 1,300 locations across six continents.

… In 1883, Warren S. Johnson, a professor at the State Normal School in Whitewater, Wisconsin, received a patent for the first electric room thermostat. His invention helped launch the building control industry and was the impetus for a new company.

Phonological note. On the accent pattern of Johnson Controls — vs. johnson control ‘control of one’s johnson’. Both are N + N compounds, but only the second has the characteristic “compound stress” prosody, with front stress (or forestress), as in climate control ‘control of (indoor) climate’ and johnson pain ‘pain in one’s johnson’ — the default pattern for compounds with common-N first element. The default pattern for compounds with proper-N first element is the characteristic “adjective stress” prosody, with back stress (or afterstress), as in nominals like climatic control, but also generally in compounds with trade names as the first element, like:

Velveeta cheese, Kleenex tissues, Listerine mouthwash, Crest toothpaste, Ivory soap

— including those where the trade name is derived from a surname, like:

Zwicky muesli, Kraft cheese, Armour ham, Mellon bank, Ford car

And Johnson Controls.

Bad Johnson. From Wikipedia:


(#2) A poster for the movie

Bad Johnson is a 2014 American sex comedy film directed by Huck Botko.

Rich is a sex addict who ruins every relationship through infidelity. He wishes that his penis would leave him alone. He wakes up one day to find his penis has taken on human form.

With Cam Gigandet as Rich Johnson and Nick Thune as Rich’s penis. Currently rated 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.

[Digression on Gigandet. From Wikipedia:


(#3) An album of Gigandet displaying his lean and muscular body

Cameron Joslin “Cam” Gigandet (born August 16, 1982) is an American actor whose credits include a recurring role on The O.C. and appearances in feature films Twilight, Pandorum, Never Back Down, Burlesque, Easy A, The Roommate and Priest. He also starred in the short-lived CBS legal drama series Reckless. From 2016 to 2018, Gigandet starred in the Audience Network drama series Ice.]

The John family of penis slang. Assembled from GDoS, starting with johnson / Johnson:

noun johnson (also Johnson) (analogous with jock-1 (1) or jack-3 (1) … ) 1 the penis (later usage esp. US black) [1st cite 1863] … 2 a pimp; a man living off a prostitute’s earnings [1st cite 1954] … 3 (US) a dildo [1975 cite] …

noun johnny: … 9 the penis (abbr. John Thomas) [1st cite 1833]

noun jones-2: (US black) 1 the penis [1st cite 1969]

noun jong-2 : (?  john-2 (3) + schlong (1)) 1 (US) the penis [1st cite 1934]

Plus proper names used for phallic reference:

John Thomas [1st cite 1653], John Willie [1st cite 1980]

Curb your enthusiasm, and control your johnson!

5 Responses to “Control your johnson”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    In any traditional roadside porn shop you see a line of “Doc Johnson” French wrenches and Chinese paint. See docjohnson dot com. How is this brand name related to the history of the word.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      New to me. Not in HDAS or GDoS, and I don’t have access to archives, so I’m probably not going to be able to follow this one up.

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        That’s only to say that Doc Johnson seems not to be an established slang term. But as a company name, it’s almost surely a play on johnson; no people named Johnson have played notable roles in the history of the company. From Wikipedia —
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Johnson

        Doc Johnson is a California-based [in North Hollywood] sex toy company. It was founded in 1976 by Reuben Sturman with Ron Braverman at the helm. It is run by Ron Braverman and his son Chad Braverman. It is one of the largest sex toy companies in the world

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Max Vasilatos writes that, from the title of this posting, they thought it was going to be about cock cages. Well, so it *could* have been. A note on cock cages, from my 1/31/16 posting “Toys for twisted boys” —
    https://arnoldzwicky.org/2016/01/31/toys-for-twisted-boys/

    a male chastity device that [the sex toy company] OxBalls calls the Cock-Lock Cock Cage. It’s a cock cage that encloses the penis in such a way as to keep the wearer from getting his hands on his dick or stimulating it in any way, and it can be locked so that the wearer cannot remove the cage himself for release and relief.
    In the gay male world, such devices are part of a dom-sub relationship in which the dom man (configured as Master or Sir or Daddy or whatever) takes control of the sub man, including control of the sub man’s sexual experience.

  3. [BLOG] Some Sunday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky explores “johnson” as a euphemism for […]

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