Archive for the ‘Word aversion and attraction’ Category

Garment vocabulary

January 25, 2021

What do you call an outer garment covering the body from the waist to the ankles, with a separate part for each leg? The referentially and socioculturally least restricted lexical item for this purpose, in both AmE and BrE, is the plural noun trousers. (The gloss in my first sentence is in fact the definition of trousers given, without restriction, in NOAD.)

It’s then remarkable that the Quite Interesting Twitter account maintained on 8/14/18 that

The Victorians thought the word ‘trousers’ so vulgar and rude that they used euphemisms such as ‘sit-upons’, ‘inexpressibles’, ‘unutterables’ and ‘unwhisperables’ instead.

The result of such an attitude would have been that there was literally no everyday expression to refer to such a garment — even one originating as a euphemism but naturalized as ordinary vocabulary — as has been the case for white meat as a replacement for (chicken) breast, for some speakers, and in many other cases.

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I say it sounds yucky, and I say the hell with it

December 4, 2017

A Calvin and Hobbes re-run in today’s comics feed:

(#1)

Food aversions have many bases: appearance, taste, smell, texture, intensity of flavor, novelty, objections to ingredients (would you eat Bambi? Thumper? Fido? Fluffy? Porky? Sam the Clam?, Charlie the Tuna?), allergic reactions, unpleasant previous experiences — and aversion to the name, as with Calvin.

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Words. words, words

May 7, 2017

From a King Features Comics Kingdom posting on the 3rd, “Ask a Cartoonist: Words to Live By” (by tea), three cartoons on words in comics: a Dustin on adolescent sniggering over potential double entendres and two Zippys about repeating words for sheer pleasure.

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Body language and Lithuanians

April 12, 2013

Today’s Zippy returns to the topic of facial expression and gesture in Dingburg:

Five stances (or gestures), each with an absurdly specific meaning (some of which suggest, in snowclonish way, proverbs or quotations). Plus an appearance of Lithuanians.

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