goose bumps/pimples - seductive etymology
Posted: 23 July 2012 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1226
Joined  2007-04-28

There’s an interesting wikipedia entry about this which includes

They get their name from geese. Goose feathers grow from stores in the epidermis which resemble human follicles. When a goose’s feathers are plucked, its skin has protrusions where the feathers were, and it is these bumps which the human phenomenon resembles.

It is not clear why in English the particular fowl goose was chosen, as most other birds have this same anatomical feature. Some authors have applied “goose bumps” to the symptoms of sexually-transmitted diseases.[2] Certainly being “bitten by a Winchester goose” was a common euphemism for syphilis[3] in the 16th century.[4] “Winchester geese” was the nickname for the prostitutes of South London,[5] licenced by the Bishop of Winchester in the area around his London palace.

However, this seductive etymology does not explain why other languages use the same bird as English. “Goose skin” is used in German (Gänsehaut), Italian (pelle d’oca), Russian (гусиная кожа), Ukrainian (гусяча шкіра), Polish (gęsia skórka), Czech (husí kůže), Danish (gåsehud), Latvian (zosāda) and Hungarian (libabőr). In other languages, however, the “goose” may be replaced by other kinds of poultry. For instance, “hen” is used in Spanish (piel de gallina), Portuguese (pele de galinha), Romanian (piele de găină) and French (chair de poule). “Chicken” is used in Dutch (kippenvel), Chinese (雞皮疙瘩, lit. lumps on chicken skin), Finnish (kananliha), Afrikaans (hoendervleis) and Korean (닭살, daksal). In Hindi/Urdu it is called rongtey khade ho jaana. The equivalent Japanese term, 鳥肌, torihada, translates literally as “bird skin”. In Arabic, it is called kash’arirah, in Hebrew it is called simply “duck skin” (עור ברווז).

The same effect is manifested in the root word “horror” in English, which is derived from Latin horrere, which means “to bristle”, and “be horrified”, because of the accompanying hair reaction.

It seems to be goose in Germanic languages except Dutch and chicken in Romance ones. Were these transmitted from an earlier root? It can’t be coincidence.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 July 2012 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

Probably borrowed from one to another.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 July 2012 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1190
Joined  2007-02-14

Or maybe the goose was the only bird that was customarily plucked only to harvest the feathers and not to remove the feathers before cooking.  I don’t know this to be the case but if it is so it would explain why this trait was seen in this bird in particular. It would require that the bird had its feathers plucked and allowed to live to create a new crop of feathers.  Does any one know if this is the case?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  234
Joined  2008-07-19

Live plucking does seem to occur. This is from the Wikipedia article on “Down feather”:

A percentage of the world’s supply of down feathers has been plucked from live birds, a practice which is condemned as cruel by animal welfare groups. The precise percentage of down harvested in this manner is uncertain; while some references report that it is only a small fraction of the total (less than 1% in 2011), a 2009 Swedish documentary reported that it might be as much as 50–80% of the total supply. Although live-plucking is illegal in the United States and Europe, it is known to occur in two European countries (Poland and Hungary) and in China. Public sentiment against the practice has, in some countries, been strong enough that large retailers such as IKEA (a home furnishing chain) and Patagonia (a clothing manufacturer) have been forced to alter product lines to eliminate the use (or possible use) of live-plucked down.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  236
Joined  2007-02-23
Faldage - 23 July 2012 03:23 PM

Or maybe the goose was the only bird that was customarily plucked only to harvest the feathers and not to remove the feathers before cooking.  I don’t know this to be the case but if it is so it would explain why this trait was seen in this bird in particular. It would require that the bird had its feathers plucked and allowed to live to create a new crop of feathers.  Does any one know if this is the case?

My grandmother harvested goose down for “feather beds” and left the bird alive for future [I’m not sure what she did with them later.]

We had many, many other birds but I only recall her saving goose down.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1226
Joined  2007-04-28

So much for that. Maybe it was chicken in Latin and trickled down to the Romance languages, etc. You’d expect this as chickens are far more common than geese, also in northern Europe but who knows.
Are there other examples of almost universal metaphors like this poultry-skin one? I mean extending like that does to places like China and Korea. It’s an obvious metaphor. God as father only works in the Holy Lands and west of there, for example, so that doesn’t work. I had high hopes of slang for testicles when a Japanese bloke told me long ago they said ‘golden balls’ but Thais say eggs as do the Spanish (huevos - what does cojone mean?). Plums, stones - I mean the predominant name.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1190
Joined  2007-02-14
venomousbede - 24 July 2012 08:29 AM

Thais say eggs as do the Spanish (huevos - what does cojone mean?

According to the Diccionario Etimológico cojón comes from the Latin coleo, which means ‘leather bag’.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

The English word for “testicles” cognate with cojones is “cullions”—a rather archaic term, not often heard, I think, in English conversation nowadays, but more common a few centuries ago. You can find “cullions” any number of times in Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of Gargantua and Pantagruel ( he uses many other names for them, too, including “ballocks")

In much of Northern Europe (including Britain) the finest down was considered to come, not from a goose, but from the Eider duck.  Hence “eiderdown”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

an afterthought:

the Shakespeare concordance whose address aldiboronti very thoughtfully gave me some time ago, says that Shakespeare uses the word “cullions” twice (Henry V, Henry VI Part II). In both cases, the word is used as a term of personal abuse ("You cullions!").  Urquhart, on the other hand, uses the word literally.

Edit: spelling correction

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2012 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4790
Joined  2007-01-03

Diegogarcity alert: yesterday in Latin class (actually as we were sitting around talking before class began), the subject of horripilation arose. Evidently, John McPhee used the word in a recent New Yorker issue.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2012 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  838
Joined  2007-03-01

The French word cognate with cojon(es) is couillon - but it means something very different. I’ve seen ‘idiot’, ‘asshole’, ‘dickhead’, and ‘cretin’ all offered as equivalents.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2012 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

That’s the sense in which Shakespeare uses the word.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2012 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1226
Joined  2007-04-28

There’s also piloerection which is innocent enough as it turns out.

How about slang names for the clitoris? (Sorry about this.) I’ve come across bud and bead and (my favourite) the little boy in the boat. How about in other languages?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2032
Joined  2007-02-19

Spanish : botoncito ("little button")

venomousbede: what are you sorry about? Rejoice, man!

[ Edited: 12 August 2012 01:50 PM by lionello ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2012 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  650
Joined  2011-04-10

From the movie, Citizen Kane: “rosebud”

In 1989, essayist Gore Vidal cited contemporary rumors that “Rosebud” was a nickname Hearst used for his mistress Marion Davies; a reference to her clitoris, a claim repeated as fact in the 1996 documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane and again in the 1999 dramatic film RKO 281. Film critic Roger Ebert has been a bit more specific than Vidal about the source, saying on his commentary track for the September 2001 DVD release that, “Some people have fallen in love with the story that Herman Mankiewicz, the co-author with Welles of the screenplay, happened to know that ‘Rosebud” was William Randolph Hearst’s pet name for an intimate part of Marion Davies’ anatomy.”

Welles biographer Frank Brady traces the story to the popular press in the late 1970s:


How Orson (or Mankiewicz) could have ever discovered this most private utterance is unexplained and why it took over 35 years for such a suggestive rationale to emerge, although the origins of everything to do with Citizen Kane had continually been placed under literary and cinematic microscopes for decades, is also unknown. If this highly unlikely story is even partially true … Hearst may have become upset at the implied connotation, although any such connection seems to have been innocent on Welles’s part. In any event, this bizarre explanation for the origin of one of the most famous words ever spoken on the screen has now made its way into serious studies of Welles and Citizen Kane.

-wikipedia

Who knows, it might become a common euphemism.

[ Edited: 12 August 2012 09:30 PM by sobiest ]
Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ HD: 2000 Words      HD: 2001 Words ››