Archive for the ‘Connotation’ Category

Syntactic phrase, compound word, portmanteau

May 24, 2018

(Gay sex talk in street language: use your judgment.)

Encountered today in reports of the slang of young gay men, three words for ‘male anus viewed as a sexual organ, male sexcavity, (figurative) vagina of a man’:

munt /mʌnt/; mussy /’mUsi/, bussy /’bUsi/ (bunt /bʌnt/ is not recorded, but has probably been coined on occasion)

These are portmanteaus derived from the compound nouns man / boy + cunt / pussy, as examined in my 7/26/13 posting on expressions for the male anus viewed as a sexual organ.

Three steps in the tightness of connection between the elements participating in an expression:


The tao of pain

July 29, 2013

The associations of the word pain are mostly strongly negative; it’s the opposite of pleasure, and pain is normally to be avoided. But there are contexts in which pain is embraced, for its psychological values — as in BDSM practices. For instance, in man-man sex, as noted in an AZBlogX posting of mine (of 2/25/13) on “Fetish/kink porn”:

An overarching theme [as in the gay porn flick Hoodies] is Taking It: experiencing, and enjoying, pain, humiliation, and abuse … An exhibition of parodoxical masculinity, showing how much of a man you are by showing how much you can take from other men. But also Submission, an abandonment of will to another man, recognizing him as superior to you.

Pain, suitably limited, also stimulates the release of hormones that can be experienced as intense pleasure. In addition, the Way of Pain in BDSM is highly ritualized, designed to work for both participants, which opens BDSM to being understood as a kind of ceremony or therapy.

That brings me to Leo Forte (treated in an 7/28/13 AZBlogX posting here), a star on the gay BDSM circuit who sometimes bills himself as “The Prince of Pain”, because of his appetite for torment (and other forms of kink).


‘male anus viewed as a sexual organ’

July 26, 2013

Yes, there are words — compound nouns — specifically for this meaning, but unless you’re into gay porn, you might not be familiar with man pussy, boy pussy, man cunt, boy cunt, man hole, or boy hole. These are terms strongly associated with gay porn (fiction, scripts of videos, and descriptions of videos) but not much used by gay men in everyday life; they are part of a specialized porn register, akin to the specialized registers in some other domains, for instance, restaurant menus (with vocabulary items like the adjective tasty that rarely occur outside the menu context).


Define “collaborate”

June 8, 2013

Today’s Dilbert:

Alice gives a witheringly sarcastic response to the pointy-headed boss, supplying a definition of collaborate that unpacks some of the connotations of the word for her. The boss then puts her down by maintaining that she is uncooperative (she ought to “play well with others” by collaborating with Larry), and she counters by pulling out the gender assumptions in the boss’s observation (women are supposed to be cooperative and collaborative, men are supposed to be assertive and confident).

a big little kitchen

June 18, 2012

A follow-up to Tyler Schnoebelen’s dissertation abstract, which included a section on the use of little in conversation, this find from Megan O’Neil last July:

[from a friend, talking about the rooms in a household] a big little kitchen

meaning not ‘a room that is big for a little kitchen’, but illustrating a shift from an objective, literally diminutive, sense of little to a subjective, affective sense, indicating emotional evaluation (affection, closeness, etc.) — a shift also seen in the use of diminutive affixes in many languages.



Associations and connotations

March 11, 2011

[I spent yesterday getting together a handout for my Stanford Sematics Fest paper (today):

Categories and Labels: LGBPPTQQQEIOAAAF2/SGL …

(abstract here, discussion of the giant initialism here). Here’s a section of the handout that pursues a theme from my posting “Labels: homosexual” (here) on associations and connotations of labels. (I will eventually post a link to the whole handout.)]


More synonymy

January 2, 2011

It occurred to me (during fevered sleep) that it might be worth checking out {“is synonymous with quality”} and similar expressions linking a product or company name with a desirable characteristic. It’s a gold mine.


Word associations as synonymy

December 31, 2010

From “Disappearing ink: Afghanistan’s sham democracy” by Matthieu Aikins, Harper’s Magazine for January 2011, p. 40:

The Anglicism “democracy,” for many Afghans, has become synonymous with unprecedented corruption, moral decay, and hypocrisy; it is another one of the plagues that the West has brought to this country.

So, for these Afghans, the word democracy has picked up (specific) negative connotations in certain sociocultural contexts. This is bad word association — [bad] [word association] , not [bad word] [association] — in fact, bad word association described by synonymous with in an extended sense.