Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Slang and Euphemism

One of my favorite reference books is Richard A. Spears's, Slang and Euphemism, A Dictionary of Oaths, Curses, Insults, Ethnic Slurs, Sexual Slang and Metaphor, Drug Talk, College Lingo and Related Matters. Yes, my fine fellows, it is a dictionary slash thesaurus of off-color terms.

The first time I saw this little paperback honey, it was sitting on my ex's behometh of a coffee table. I didn't pay it much mind, at first. Not until one day when I came over and he was reading it. Curious, I had to ask.

"Whatcha reading?"
"A book of slang."
"Lemme see."

Being a nice guy, and all, he obliged.

I read the outside cover with glee, then opened this newly discovered jewel with undue reverence. Flipping through, I marveled at the wealth of words contained within, many of which I had never even heard. How long did it take Richard Spears to amass all these words, and what possessed him to put them down in a guide? For those of us wondering or writerly sorts, he gives the definition of the word in question, then the related synonyms.

There are almost seven whole pages of synonyms for woofled, a term attributed to Ben Franklin, from the early 1900's, meaning intoxicated.

Did you know that the word penis is derived from the Latin word peniculus, meaning artist's brush? Hmm, do guys really paint with that thing?

Okay, now that I've amused some of you, put some of you off and completely driven others of you away, here's my point. A few of you were brave enough to ask what chi-chi's are. Here's what S&E has to say: chichis the breasts. For synonyms see BOSOM. (U.S. slang, mid 1900s-pres.)

Chi-chi's are breasts, boobs, bezongas, gazongas, headlights, mosquito bites, mountains, peaches, pellets, piggies, upper decks, wallopies and wamdanglers, and about a hundred other terms I didn't include. Interestingly, one of my favorites, ta tas, is not in my edition, which is dated 2001. Maybe it's time for an update.

Also, it appears my spelling of chichis was incorrect, so my work is in need of a little update, too. Sometimes it does not pay to google, not when you have the real thing at your fingertips.


Raquel Byrnes said...

Ahahaha woofled. Thats a great one. Thanks for sharing about this book. I had no idea it existed.

Writer Junkie said...

LOL!! There was some words for Chi-Chi's I've never heard before! I might need one of those books!

Psssttt... there's an award for you at my blog. :)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Raquel, my pleasure! :D

Suzie, yes, pick up a copy, it's a fun and useful addition to a writer's book of tricks. Oh goodie! I love awards, thank you soooo much!!

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