LotR slang

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 8 08:23:46 EST 2003

--- Tanaqui <tweaver at imbolc.ucc.ie> wrote:
> Jon:
> + There are several slang words that may have
> started
> + out as obscenities and are now quite innocent, one
> + even appears in LOTR, where Tolkien was presumably
> + aware of this.
> cite, cite

The word is "coney" meaning rabbit used by Sam in The
Two Towers. As with many naughty words the etymology
is not certain, but it has  been suggested that the
word is related to a very naughty word beginning with
C that I will not repeat here as this is a family List
(although in an earlier post I gave the URL of a quite
lengthy document on this word). The term became
unfashionable and largely replaced by the form "bunny"
because of this association. The term seems to have
arrived in England with the rabbits themselves in the
Middle Ages (like Australia the Rabbit is not a native
animal of Britain) and is Latin in origin (it is not
certain if the C word is of latin origin itself, but
there is a very good latin candidate for its origin. 
Incidently the dual meanings of the word "pussy" are
similarly confused - both meanings seem to have always
existed in English, with the naughty one possibly the
older. (IIRC the two uses came from two different but
again possibly related dutch words).
Getting back to LOTR the closest other reference to a
naughty word is in the name of Sam's cousin (?) Hal
which is Halfast = Half arsed.


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