As Good as Ever Twanged

I have just spent a few delightful and amusing minutes following a history of the human penchant for applying colorful expressions when referring to the genitals, male and female. It starts with an article on Slate titled,  Furburger, the Irish Inch, and Other Names for Genitalia Through the Ages, by Katy Waldman

You and me [sic] may be nothing but mammals, but we are mammals that talk about sex a lot more than our cousins on the Discovery Channel. Now lexicographer Jonathan Green has created two interactive timelines tracing slang words for male and female genitalia through history. He’s compiled words for the penis and its satellite parts, going back to 1360, and also words for the mons pubis, going back to 1230.

Some fun facts: The earliest recorded name for the vagina—unprintable here—is still with us today. Testicles (“ballocks,” in Renaissance parlance) received an epithet before the male member (“pin,” 1460), while the most recent addition to the penis thesaurus is “bald-headed mouse” (2012).


The Slate article goes on to provide a choice selection of naughty euphemisms which I won’t copy here but I really recommend going to Green’s two interactive timelines to get the big picture. It took me a while to get the hang of the timeline software but after that I was soon lost in a tidal wave of prurient vocabulary and strong images of a bordello on the frontier catering to scalawags and galoots.

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