Archive for the ‘Slang’ Category

Male art: the hidden talent of the conch

October 14, 2022

(There will be discussion of penises and vaginas, some of it using street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Having discovered and posted about a vintage photograph of three young men displaying their swimmer’s bodies (which I bought and mounted on a bookend, to make a free-standing portable photo display), I was led by Etsy to other sources of somewhat similar photographs, in particular the trove of photographic male art offered by The Male Image Art Shop (dba TheMaleImageArtShop), among which this photo caught my eye:


(#1) “Dmitry and Matteo”, as advertised on-line: the more Slavic-looking bodybuilder type on the left is presumably Dmitry, and the more Mediterranean-looking swimmer type on the right Matteo; their gazes are fixed on us, the viewers, with no expression; Dmitry has a friendly, or perhaps a proprietary, arm on Matteo’s shoulder

Other than this, we know nothing. But we struggle to extract a story that it’s telling us, some story about the relationship between the two men (and possibly about why they’re posing for us), so we ask: when was this photo taken? where are they?  why are they naked? what are their lives like? what does that arm on the shoulder mean? is this photo a slice of these men’s lives, or are the men random male models posed to create a puzzle for us?

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The news for wieners

September 26, 2022

(Phallic preoccupations abound in this posting, sometimes in street language — I mean, look at the title above —  so some readers may want to skip over it)

Passed on by a friend on Facebook yesterday, this German grocery-store snapshot plus a joking double-entendre intro in English (together making what appears to be a a fast-spreading meme):


(#1) Hähnchenschnitten Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style chicken cutlets’ from the (German) Vossko company, the name of the product including the German phrase Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ — that is, prepared like Wiener SchnitzelWienerschnitzel); meanwhile, the English-language intro alludes to wiener art, in the sense ‘penis art’, referring to artworks in which penises are significant elements (or, in an hugely extended sense, to any artworks in which human penises are visible) — the label wiener art involving the (mildly racy) AmE sexual slang term wiener ‘penis’

German Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ (a) leads to English Wiener art ‘Viennese art’ (b) and then to four AmE slang uses of wiener art: (c) ‘sausage / frankfurter art’; (d) ‘dachshund art’; (e) ‘penis art’; (f) ‘weenie art’. All will be illustrated below.

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Three greetings for 9/6/22

September 6, 2022

For Woo(l)ly Mammoth’s #82: a fresh greeting formula, a morning hummer, and a fairy woodland bouquet. To which I’m adding some carrot cake and coffee ice cream: it’s not only my birthday, it’s also National Coffee Ice Cream Day, which I’m honoring all aslant (with coffee gelato), as I do so many things. To alter a family saying (If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly): If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing eccentrically (for other occasions: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing outrageously).

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Zhug it up!

August 21, 2022

As a Z-person, I notice occurrences of the letter Z, especially word-initial ones. As an English linguist, I notice occurrences of word-initial ZH, because they’re so rare. Outside of proper names in Chinese, Russian, and Ukrainian, it’s pretty much all about the verb and noun zhuzh (which comes with an entertaining gay-inflected history); zhuzh has recently made it into the Oxford dictionaries, but it’s still waiting for entry to the Merriam-Webster dictionaries and the American Heritage.

So my lingy sense tingled when this morning’s e-mailing from bon appétit magazine was headed:

Store-Bought Zhug + Greek Yogurt = the Ultimate Chicken Marinade

Yes! Zhug that chicken! In fact, ba promises (though not in these words) that zhuging it up will zhuzh it up. The magical substance:


(#1) A bowl of zhugurt (photo by Isa Zapata)

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cogedores

August 10, 2022

(Warning: the posting quickly descends into various kinds of vulgar, unsavory slang.)

From Kyle Wohlmut (from Twitter) on Facebook this morning, with the comment “good morning fuckers’:


(#1) A set of three plastic kitchen scoops, in a package designed to hang on a supermarket display hook; note the notch at the top of the package, for slipping over the hook; the back of the package has the name of the item in four languages, from four countries, the countries identified by flags (in tiny, muddy, b&w images), and as you go down the list, the referents of the names — names evidently supplied by some translation software — drift rapidly away from a kitchen scoop and get raunchier and raunchier: ‘scraping, scratching’, figurative ‘son of a bitch’ (literally ‘son of a whore’), figurative ‘fucker’ (referring to a contemptible or stupid person; to any man, to a guy; or to some unspecified object)

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Take it from the man on the can

July 17, 2022

Another adventure in dubious commercial names and slogans. In the past few days the hyperkinetic tv pitchman Phil Swift — the id of the Flex Seal company, the Billy Mays of liquid rubber — has been assaulting my senses with a slogan that annoys me every time — just the way it was supposed to — because I get the sleazy sense of the commercial’s slogan

Take it from the man on the can

(‘from the guy sitting on the toilet (doing his business)’) instead of the innocent sense ‘from the man whose picture is on the label of the can (of Flex Seal)’. (In passing, I note the mini-festival of metonymy here: the man isn’t on the can, his picture is; well, not on the can itself, but on the label affixed to the can.) Let me start with a photo of an exemplary Flex Seal can:


(#1) You will note the absence, on the label, of a face of any person whatsoever, much less Phil Swift; as far as I can tell, the labels are all like that, and that’s no accident: Swift’s face is entirely beside the point — you’ll see that plenty in the commercials — because the ad’s all about taking your thoughts, memorably, into (or onto) the toilet

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The gay pig slut slogan for the Fourth

July 3, 2022

(Warning: lots of off-color word play about male masturbation)

To celebrate American independence (year 246), the Fort Troff company (“Ruff Stuff for Pig Sluts”), purveyor of sex accessories, primarily to guys like me), offers this (parodic) slogan:


Yankee Doodle keep it up / Yank your doodle dandy

The verb yank ‘masturbate’ is only accidentally homophonous with the yank– of Yankee, but according to GDoS, the noun doodle ‘penis, esp. a child’s penis’ is attested from the 18th century on.

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The cadenza and the coda

April 29, 2022

Morning names for today (4/29), set off by a cadenza in a Mozart piano concerto that was playing when I got up just after midnight for a brief whizz break. The word cadenza led me immediately to coda, both musical bits coming at the end, also both sounding sort of Italian (which, in fact, they once were), indeed sounding very similar at their beginnings (/kǝd/ vs. /kod/) — but it turns out that though their etymologies both go back to Latin, a cadenza is a falling (or, metaphorically, a death) and a coda is a tail.

(#1) A tv ad: Help me! I’m in a cadenza and I can’t get up!

(#2) A linguistic Tom Swifty: “Coda, my ass! That’s a coati or a koala, I don’t know which”, quoted Cody in Kodiak.

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A masculinity meze: face men

April 27, 2022

(This has turned out to be quite a large meze, but it’s only about one idiomatic slang expression. Well, men and masculinity come into the thing, and you know what can happen then.)

Reflecting a couple days ago on my Princeton days (1958-62) and the tangle of the attitudes of the (all-male) students at the time towards (among things) masculinity, male affiliation (as systematized in a pervasive system of male bands, the eating clubs of the time), women, homosexuals, race, and social class. The topic is vast, also deeply distressing to me personally, and I suspect that I’ll never manage to write about the bad parts of it in any detail — note: there were some stunningly good parts — but in all of that I retrieved one lexical item of some sociolinguistic interest (and entertainment value), one slang nugget: the idiomatic N1 + N2 compound noun face man / faceman / face-man.

A common noun frequently used among my friends, which was then also deployed as a proper noun nicknaming one of our classmates, a young man notable for his facial male beauty: everybody had to have a nickname (mine was Zot, for the Z of my name and the cartoon anteater), so we called him Face Man because he was a face man.

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Half-assing things

March 20, 2022

(It’s all about some English expressions using the bodypart-term ass, but without any reference to human buttocks. The verb fuck (up), figuratively ‘mishandle, damage, ruin’, puts in a cameo appearance at the beginning. But: no actual bodyparts, no sexual acts, presented either verbally or visually.)

Advertised in my Facebook feed yesterday, this t-shirt, available from many sources (this via Amazon, in five colors):


The verb half-ass, here ‘do (something) incompletely or incompetently’ — as opposed to totally messing it up

We start with the racy slang verb half-ass and work back from there.

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