WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Beast With Two Backs

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Beast With Two Backs

Please pardon me this week while I am becoming extremely vulgar, albeit in a very roundabout and literary way.

Working though my mountainous TBR pile this past weekend, I read A Dangerous Love (Swanlea Spinsters Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries. William Shakespeare plays a prominent role in the witty and spirited interactions between the hero and heroine of this story. If you haven’t read it – do!

By the end of the book, I had the inspiration for the next Word of the Week.

     His eyes slid shut and a dark flush rose on his face. “You’ll find…the plays have a whole new…meaning once you know of such things.”
     “Oh? For example?”
     He frowned, obviously having difficulty thinking. “Remember Petruchio and Katherina? He talks about having…his tongue in her tail? And being a…’combless cock’ if she…will be his hen’?”
     She released him abruptly. “What! That’s what that means? I never dreamed–“
     “Shakespeare isn’t…the least…respectable, my sweet. You chose your…favorite author well.”

Shakespeare Gallery folio at The Annex Galleries. "Othello, Act V, Scene II" as engraved by W. Leney, after a painting by J. Graham. J. & J. Boydell Publishers.

Shakespeare Gallery folio at The Annex Galleries. “Othello, Act V, Scene II” as engraved by W. Leney, after a painting by J. Graham. J. & J. Boydell Publishers.

Beast With Two Backs (noun)

A man and a woman in the act of copulation.

The concept was first documented in the work The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais in 1532, and in French; it was translated into English by Thomas Urquhart around 1693.

“In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon ‘gainst one another.”

And some think coarse and crass language is a modern occurrence. Methinks this little poetic passage might have also given rise to the decidedly modern phrase “makin’ bacon,” but that’s a post for another author.

William Shakespeare coined the actual phrase, a beast with two backs, in his play Othello, in 1604. It appears in Act 1, Scene 1, and is delivered by perhaps the best villain ever put on paper. Iago is as he ever was, right from the start.

Brabantio: What profane wretch are thou?

Iago: I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

Brabantio: Thou art a villain.

Iago: You are — a senator.

Now that is a brazen thing to say to the father of the so-called beast!

On a barely related note, one of the most entertaining reviewers of literature can be found on YouTube, and he just so happens to have tackled Othello. Please be advised there is a bit of language…and plenty of modern slang.

All definitions and/or examples taken from 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue and The Phrase Finder.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cascade

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cascade

Since last week was all about being disguised, aka drunk, this week naturally lent itself to the after effects of said drunkenness: getting sick.  I am one who would rather visit the dentist every day for a month than throw up.  When I was a child, I even avoided using medical terms for the action, almost superstitiously believing if I didn’t say the actual word out loud, maybe I would avoid the unpleasant results.  Consequently, I’ve always used slang terms; the term “vomit” is so evocatively harsh and nearly onomatopoeic that just hearing it about makes me queasy.

For the Word of the Week, I give you a surprisingly more genteel-yet-still-vulgar term to pretty up a rather unfortunate and ill-mannered event.

Cascade (verb)

1702 from the French cascade (noun). In early 19th century slang, “to vomit.”  Related: cascaded; cascading.

French Generals Retiring on Account of Their Health With Lepaux Presiding in the Directorial Dispensary by James Gillray, 1799.

French Generals Retiring on Account of Their Health With Lepaux Presiding in the Directorial Dispensary by James Gillray, 1799.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for me, I found even more slang terms for cascade to make me laugh rather than turn green:

cast up one’s accounts/cast up one’s reckoning (to vomit)

to cat, shoot the cat, or catting (vomit from drunkenness)

cropsick (having a sickness in the stomach from drunkenness)

to flay a fox/to flea a fox (to vomit)

to flash the hash (cant term, to vomit)

to pump ship (vomit at sea)

The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe, with an Account of His Campaign on the Peninsula, and in Pall Mall; Thomas Rowlandson, 1816.

The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe, with an Account of His Campaign on the Peninsula, and in Pall Mall; Thomas Rowlandson, 1816.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now for this week’s winner of the funny but eww! award:

shi**ing through your teeth (vomiting); “Hark ye, friend, have you got a padlock on your a*se, that you sh*te through your teeth?”

Now THAT is a word picture!

A Scene in the Channel; Thomas Rowlandson, 1815.

A Scene in the Channel; Thomas Rowlandson, 1815.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will leave you with some wonderful naval humor.  I do hope you have absolutely no chance of using this Word of the Week, and that your days remain blessedly hash-free!

Admiral of the Narrow Seas (one who vomits into the lap of the person opposite)

 

All definitions and/or examples taken from Online Etymological DictionaryCant: A Gentleman’s Guide, and/or 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.