Thursday, March 10, 2011

Talk Qwerty to Me

I know, I'm reusing this picture from my own blog post a few days ago, but it didn't occur to me until after I'd posted that it really was perfect for this week's Word Whore post.

So, two points for recycling?

Anyway, sexual euphemisms and I aren't total strangers. Regardless of the topic,chances are my mind will happily plunge straight into the gutter. (I may not always voice my thoughts aloud, but they're there.)

When it comes to writing In some ways I'm probably a bit more conservative than others - there are certain words/phrases I don't like, but that's probably true for everyone. And as we've seen on the blog earlier this week, go too clinical and it jerks the reader right out of the scene. On the other hand, make it too purple and you risk the reader laughing.

And as an aside, one of the worst euphemisms I've ever read was one where the author referred to the woman's naughty bits as her "hole of contentment."

Just. No.


Purple headed warriors and quivering love pudding aside, I have found one of the best references to be a book called "Slang Down Through the Ages."

It's a pretty nice starter, and followed up nicely by The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. I like this one in particular because it was originally written in 1785 - nothing quite like getting things straight from the source, particularly when writing a fantasy or a period piece. There's a bit of overlap, obviously, but still very useful. (Dancing the blanket hornpipe, anyone?)

Both books have far more in them than mere sexual expressions, by the way. There's some superb thieves cant in general, mixed with Gypsy terms and a bit of "everyman's" slang - all in all, it's great stuff.

For a more modern look at euphemisms, check out Sex Lexis. (This site is probably NSFW, but it's worth a look).To be honest, some of the terminology and phrases here are so over the top that I don't think I'd ever be able to use them with a straight face (although more power to you if you can insert "gallop the maggot" or "drinking from the furry cup" into your WiP somewhere...)

So, worst euphemisms that you've ever read (or written?)


  1. I always thought Shakespeare's 'making the beast with two backs' was fun. I mean, it was totally scandalous in my high school English class and it freaked out our bible-thumping teacher (which only made it more fun), but really, good ol' Will S. had a great euphemism there.

  2. I *really* thought you'd be all over the lady-softness in your post.

  3. Quivering love pudding? *cracks up*

    I got nothing compared to what I've read here at Word Whores this week. I'm starting to think I'm not reading the right books. ;)

  4. "SexLexis" reminds me of a scene from Futurama...

  5. Are you saying euphemisms are the new "purple prose"?

    Thanks for the LOLs.

  6. I myself can't stand it when a sex scene contains too much eufemisms that are food. A cucumber now and then is fine with me, but some sex scenes sound like they're preparing a sandwich and only result in me getting hungry.

  7. Worst: It's a toss up between "Ride the baloney pony" and "Work the hairy oracle."

  8. Apparently, LindaG, I'm not reading the right books - nor had, until now, been hanging out with the, dare I say, 'right' people to learn the naughtiness I've learned this week.

  9. We read Samuel Pepys diary when I was in school and he had all sorts of sneaky ways to describe what he was getting up to behind his wife's back. My personal favorite was his use of "cunny" :P

    Also, I LOLed at "hole of contentment." Niiiice.

  10. "Hole of Contentment?" For reals? Oh, that one just totally does it for me. I've got to ask - what goes *in* the hole of contentment? I mean, it's got to be something really special -

  11. I think I need to add Classic Vulgar to my dictionary collection.