Sweet Fanny Adams

JOdel at aol.com JOdel at aol.com
Thu Feb 6 13:55:33 EST 2003


<< Thats "Franny" you're thinking of Sally, this confusion is the source of 
several dirty jokes. ;-}

Jon >>

No, actually, it's Fanny. Or Fan. This usage goes back a long way, although 
it fell out of usage fairly rapidly in America once the term "fanny" started 
being used for the buttocks. (Which is what it meant when I was last paying 
any sort of attention. If it means anything more now it has suffered a shift 
in meaning. Or someone has conflated buttocks with bollocks which was not in 
common usage on this side of the pond until about the late '70s, and still 
isn't all that common.) 

The use of "Fanny" as a girls' nickname was still common over here into the 
19th century (example: Fan/Fanny in Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl). The 
usage had certainly not completely fallen out even in England, if the kids 
were still familiar enough to taunt the little Adams girl in Witch's Business 
with it in the '70s. 
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