Strange Charmed Life Reaction and bad language

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Wed Apr 11 15:17:20 EDT 2001

Bill said...

>   The phrase "cuss words" has the tone of being very country or somewhat
> century.  Mark Twain or Zane Grey would have used the term.  I think it
would be
> used with self-conscious irony and intentional quaintness.

Okay.  I've mainly seen it used on mail lists, I have to admit, so possibly
the perpetraters were simply trying to keep their language clean-ish.

>   I don't understand how "arse" could be shocking unless it's the shock to
> unwary American that anyone could mispronounce such a simple word.  Of
> "ass" no longer carries the offensive weight it once had and the
> pronunciation might give it new power to offend.

Well, I don't know why it shocks people either, but it does seem to.
>   "Bollocks" and "wanker" are very unfamiliar words to Americans, I
suspect.  In
> fact, I've only been assuming that "bollocks" = "balls" = testicles.
"Balls" is
> the normal informal term for testicles in my experience, so I'm not sure
> confusing.  Of course that assumes I've guessed correctly about your use
of the
> term.

Yes, "bollocks" (often spelt "bollox" in this country) = testicles.  A
"wanker", in case you don't know, is a male masturbator.  There isn't, as
far as I know, an equivalent feminine term...maybe "women don't do that"?
>   I'm starting to have doubts about the meaning of everything and that
> me of when I was in grade school and decided that my parents had to be
> spies, speaking in a secret code, because nobody could ever be having
> conversations that boring on purpose.


Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at

"Fashion exists for women with no taste, etiquette for people with no
--Queen Marie of Romania

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list