Archive for the ‘Slang’ Category

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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surfdom

February 22, 2022

The Zippy strip for 2/20, in which Bill Griffith gets to goof on surf vs. serf:

(#1) Zippy’s title: “Serf City!!”, playing on the song title “Surf City”

panel 1: the serf wakes up in his cell and gets up — the idiomatic phrase surf’s up, roughly ‘the waves are good for surfing; let’s do it’, so figuratively ‘conditions are good for action; let’s get on with it’

panel 2: the serf surfing the net — the (metaphorical) verb surf ‘move from page to page or site to site on’

panel 3: the serf channel-surfing — the (similarly metaphorical) synthetic-compound verb channel-surf ‘change frequently from one television channel to another’

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Sexy Italians

January 23, 2022

(References to sex between men in several places, so not to everyone’s taste.)

The centerpiece is this 1900 painting Italian Man with a Rope by John Singer Sargent:


(#1) Though reproductions are on sale all over the place, as items of attractive decor, I haven’t been able to find any information about the occasion for the painting or the model Sargent used (call him Tugger, since he’s tugging on that rope); even the 1900 date comes from an art auction site and might not be reliable

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Bizarros of the Solstice, Festivus, and Christmas

December 25, 2021

Wayno/Piraro Bizarro cartoons for the 21st (Winter Solstice), 23rd (Festivus, for the airing of grievances), and 25th (Christmas Day). The first two are Christmas-related, but today’s is not (at least in any way I can see), so in a spirit of holiday orneriness, I’ll start with that one.

12/25: the Fritz Carlton:


(#1) Ritz on the fritz (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

Fritz Carlton: an erratic portmanteau of on the fritz ‘not functioning’ and Ritz-Carlton the luxury hotel chain. (Note: the desk clerk is a supercilious Frenchman, an imagined present-day César Ritz.)

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Eye charts

December 17, 2021

Yet another cartoon meme, the Eye Chart, with an instance in today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, set in the fictive city of Metropolis:


(#1) It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Superman (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Yes, it’s also an instance of the “It’s a bird” meme. Memes tend to travel together, like elephants, or municipal buses.

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zhuzh it up!

November 25, 2021


(#1) Available as a sticker from Redbubble, also as a t-shirt

Enter Monica Macaulay (in Wisconsin), who posted this ad for seasoning packets from Uncommon Goods on Facebook yesterday, with her innocent comment:



(#2 & 3) Monica: “zhuzh it up! apparently a well-known expression”

Well, yes, well-known in some circles (dictionary resources, in considerable detail, to come below). It was popularized earlier in this century in the US by the tv program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; but then back in the 1960s and 70s in the UK by the BBC radio program(me) Round the Horne, with high-camp characters who made much use of a secret lexicon called Polari.

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Pissing and moaning with Ed Koren

November 24, 2021

From the 2018 cartoon collection Koren in the Wild (my copy of which arrived today), this New Yorker cartoon (published in the magazine on 9/6/99):


Working-class masculinity — the bar, pissing and moaning — meets the intellectual — verify what you’re saying with data: who verifies their pissing and moaning with data?

Then there’s the slang idiom to piss and moan.

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