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#121882 - 02/02/04 05:27 AM feculence  
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In a column written by Jeff Jacoby in today's (1 February 04) Boston Globe, he decries the use of bad words in the media. His column is posted at http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/02/01/the_slippery_slope_into_indecent_language/

In his conclusion he refers to "the feculence of modern life." I had never heard the word before, looked it up, see how he is using it somewhat analogically, and marvel.




#121883 - 02/02/04 11:07 AM Re: feculence  
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It has all the hallmarks of the results of a rummage through a thesaurus. None of the rest of his article hints at the use of such highflown terms for such a lowlife definition!

Well, f**k him, I say!


#121884 - 02/02/04 12:51 PM Re: feculence  
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Fr Steve,

I agree that the author seems to have pulled feculence out a thesaurus, as it certainly is as jarring in the context as the language used elsewhere in the article.

But it's also true that perhaps we need to be jarred a little bit. I admit to the use of salty phrases, etc., but using them on the air is going beyond a line in the airwaves which a genteel society would neither venture nor permit others to venture.

I don't think that this is a "slippery slope to indecent language," as the headline on the article said. It is instead a precipitous descent toward a non-society tarred with the brushes of boorishness, incivility, crassness, crudity.

TEd



TEd
#121885 - 02/02/04 12:59 PM Re: feculence  
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I am distressed by the feculence of the wide screen.


#121886 - 02/02/04 02:51 PM Re: feculence  
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this too shall pass
in the very next line the phrase "separates the decent from the indecent" appears; at this point I too would have opened my thesaurus (or perphaps not ;) and replaced indecency -- isn't that what a thesaurus is for?!




#121887 - 02/03/04 12:44 AM ithyphallic  
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So, would you perhaps choose ithyphallic over indecent?


#121888 - 02/03/04 12:45 AM Re: feculence  
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I keep hearing that movie language has to be crude to be "realistic" but somehow it used to possible for a comic to be funny without being indecent and for a tough guy to be tough without four letter words. (although maybe that's why they were the strong silent type)



#121889 - 02/03/04 02:05 AM Re: ithyphallic  
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would you perhaps choose ithyphallic over indecent?

Since when are fishsticks indecent. What a minute, I'll come in again. Since when did ithyphallic become synonymous with indecent? In Greek, it's a religious word. Dionysius was a generative god.


#121890 - 02/03/04 11:11 AM Since at least 1913  
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Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Ith`y*phal"lic\, a. [L. ithyphallicus, fr.
ithyphallus, Gr. ?, membrum virile erectum, or a figure
thereof carried in the festivals of Bacchus.]
Lustful; lewd; salacious; indecent; obscene.






#121891 - 02/03/04 01:26 PM Re: one citation from 1864  
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"An ithyphallic audacity that insults what is most sacred and decent among men." In the OED, besides the religious term and a poetical meter, this one citation is used for the gloss: grossly indecent, obscene. I argue that the meaning in the sentence above is the technical one, and the lexicographer has transferred his own repugnance into a new, spurious meaning. But I could be wrong.


#121892 - 02/03/04 01:42 PM Re: one citation from 1864  
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Norman Schur mentions, as a gloss, that the Bacchanalian statue was that of a large erection (nothing attached?); so in its original and literal use, ithyphallic pertained to this artifact (ithys, straight + phallos, phallus). But it came to mean "lewd, obscene, grossly indecent, shameless" in general use.


#121893 - 02/03/04 02:42 PM Re: one citation from 1864  
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Yes, I understand. I was just ruminating on the fig-leaf prudery of the shifted meaning. Now on to the etymology. Greek phallos is related to Latin follis 'leather bag, punching bag, bellows', English ballocks (from OE bealloc 'scrotum'), and Irish balc (unglossed, Hibernicus?). Greek ithus 'straight' has one Sanskrit cognate: sAdhati 'to come to the goal'.


#121894 - 02/03/04 02:52 PM Re: feculence  
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It's interesting that English fecal 'of, relating to, or composed of feces' (A-H) comes from the Latin word fæx, -ces, 'dregs, lees, sediment', cogante with our dregs. And our excrement comes from a Latin word excrementum 'refuse; what passes out of the body' that was not confined to ordure, but included spittle and snot.


#121895 - 02/03/04 03:48 PM Re: ithyphallic  
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Is there any connection, etymological or other, to the Greek fertility god Priapus?


#121896 - 02/04/04 03:27 AM Re: priapismos  
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Is there any connection, etymological or other, to the Greek fertility god Priapus?

AS-- Do you mean with ithyphallic? Well, there's no accepted etymology for Priapos the ithyphallic god of fertility and gardens. So, I guess, no. Chantraine (who wrote a comprehensive Greek etymological dictionary) says "Pas d'etymologie." He also suggests that Priapos was imported, like many another Greek god, from Asia Minor. I saw a great Priapus in Pompey back in '76. The guard, for a small pour-bois, would unlock a little door behind which was a little statue of the god with his member erect and slightly longer than he was tall. (Luckily for me, the two little old ladies from the Midwest in front of me paid, so I tailgated in on their tip.) According to archeologists they were common in Roman gardens and acted as scarecrows. (I think Horace mentions one of these statues of wood cracking and making quite a noise.) We get the word priapism a medical condition 'persistent and usually painful erection'. Some great words in Greek are: priapiskos 'dilator or suuppository (for the anus); perineal peg; plug (for the nose)', priapiskotes 'shaped like the membrum virile', and priapistai 'worshippers of Priapos'. The Romans, not to be left behind, have priapus vitreus 'a drinking vessel of obscene shape', and priapus siligenius 'a cake of the same shape'. I've seen items that could be their modern descendents. Not sure what they're called.

Another great book for the wordhoarder is J N Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary. Full of all kinds of great dirty words and a good stocking stuffer (Freud forfend!) for any budding classicist.


#121897 - 02/04/04 02:16 PM Re: priapismos  
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priapus siligenius 'a cake of the same shape'

in the 1960's there were several recipes for a cakes, (usually a yeasted cake)
that were baked in coffee cans (1 lb size coffee cans)
the cake would rise up, and swell as extended past the the edge of the can, and would naturally form a rounded top.

recipes for these 'cakes' could be found in all the nice womens' magazines.

I used to think it quite funny.


#121898 - 02/04/04 02:55 PM Re: one citation from 1864  
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Greek phallos is related to Latin follis 'leather bag, punching bag, bellows', English ballocks (from OE bealloc 'scrotum'), and Irish balc (unglossed, Hibernicus?).
The word "ballocks" or "bollocks" I had always assumed to be formed from "ball", but your source suggests it's related to words for bags and bellows.

The Irish word you list is probably modern Irish "bolg" meaning "belly". "Belly" itself looks like a cognate, and if so the semantic connection to a leather bag is by no means unreasonable.


#121899 - 02/04/04 03:02 PM Etymologies from Merriam Webster  
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Belly:
Etymology: Middle English bely bellows, belly, from Old English belg bag, skin; akin to Old High German balg bag, skin, Old English blAwan to blow

Blow:
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English blAwan; akin to Old High German blAen to blow, Latin flare, Greek phallos penis

Which brings us full circle, really.


#121900 - 02/04/04 03:14 PM Re: one citation from 1864  
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always assumed to be formed from "ball",

Perhaps not formed from, but certainly related to:

http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE51.html

Along with balloon, ballot, and, modesty forbids me from saying, Fool.


#121901 - 02/08/04 05:29 AM Re: Etymologies from Merriam Webster  
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I'd always wondered where the term blow job came from...


#121902 - 02/10/04 02:43 AM Re: feculence  
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With feculence goes flatulence. I was reminded
of this by reading nutrition information of a
cereal package, to see what sweeteners were
used, and saw "fructose" listed. It is one of
the nutrients that may contribute to flatulence.
Read all abgout it:
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9999.html


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