Sport/ sexual intercourse
Posted: 24 April 2017 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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In Shakespeare’s Othello I came upon:

“When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be a game to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite.” (Bold emphasis mine)

I thought the usage of the word was another of Shakespeare’s play-on-words. It seems it was a fairly established usage.

The OED refers to this line in its usage quotations:

†c. Lovemaking, amorous play; (also) sexual intercourse; an instance of this, an amorous exploit. Obs.In later use freq. punning on sense 1b.

c1450 (▸c1400) Sowdon of Babylon (1881) l. 2087 (MED), xxxti maydens, lo..The fayrest of hem ye chese; Take your sporte.
c1475 (▸?c1300) Guy of Warwick (Caius) l. 3176 (MED), In-to the Chambre lete vs goo, Amonges the maydens some sportes to doo.
?c1500 Mary Magdalene (Digby) l. 459 Prynt yow in sportes whych best doth yow plese.
1568 (▸a1500) Freiris Berwik 170 in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1930) IV. 266 Than in hett luve thay talkit vderis till Thus at þair sport now will I leif þame still.
a1616 Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. i. 227 When the blood is made dull with the act of sport .
1617 F. Moryson Itinerary iii. 48 Italians love a fearefull wench, that often flies from Venus sport.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 102 When now the Nuptial time Approaches for the stately Steed to climb;..Distend his Chine, and pamper him for sport .
1772 T. Bridges Burlesque Transl. Homer (rev. ed.) i. 4 In England, if you trust report, Whether in country, town, or court, The parsons daughters make best sport.
1787 C. Morris Compl. Coll. Songs (ed. 5) ii. sig. *B, As he knew in our state that the women had weight, He chose one well hung for good sport, Sir.

I’m not familiar with this usage in today’s language; I’m assuming it’s obsolete.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Green’s Dictionary of Slang indicates that it is still current. The latest citations for the noun:

1948 [US] (con. 1927) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 618: His favorite sport is the hole of the queen.
1965 [US] H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 204: She told me I was th’ first staff she ever saw who didn’t have a measly twenty dollars for a little sport.
1966 [US] C. Himes Run Man Run (1969) 147: ‘What kind of sport?’ [...] ‘The sport.’ ‘Oh, you mean women.’.
1992 [US] Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore II 595: Sport once referred almost exclusively to sexual play [...] in such out-dated phrases as ‘sporting house’ (of prostitution).

And the verb:

1965 [US] C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 202: Say, baby, you sportin’ tonight?
1971 [US] B. Malamud Tenants (1972) 83: Are you sportin tonight? Mary asks Lesser in a friendly way.
1988 [US] (con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 130: [one man to another] You think I want to sport with you?
2010 [UK] Guardian 18 Dec. 11/1: The thought of Vladimir Putin nestling, spooning, sporting and pillow-talking [...] makes my very marrow grow cold.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m not sure you can call it “still current” when the most recent noun citation refers to “out-dated phrases” and the two most recent verb ones refer to “con. 1940s” and include the thoroughly obsolete “spooning,” respectively.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A couple of the Urban Dictionary entries for sport define it as sex, and I’ve encountered it in the wild. (There are a lot of entries, so you have wade through them.)

And in no way is spooning ”thoroughly obsolete.” It’s quite common; I’ve probably heard it in the last week. There are 58 entries for spooning in Urban Dictionary; all that I looked at were sexual, although they described a variety of sexual practices, although the cuddling sense is by far the most common. (Beware: some of the other UD definitions, once seen, cannot be unread.)

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Posted: 25 April 2017 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Re “spooning,” we may be talking about distinct usages.  If I recall correctly, it is an obsolete (early 20th century?) term for kissing, or perhaps more intimate activity.  My understanding of its current use is the sleeping posture of two persons on their sides with one, typically female, with her back to the other, typically male, person’s front.  It is not specifically sexual.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Green’s has a lot of citations for spooning, ranging from 1876 to the 2010 Guardian citation under sport. It defines the activity as “flirtation,” although clearly it goes well beyond that in some of the later citations. Although in most the specific activity denoted is vague.

The OED has a 1914 entry that defines it as “courting or love-making of a sentimental kind.” That sense is certainly obsolete.

There is one citation in Green’s that may be a transitional usage:

1940 [US] R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 211: The spooning couples took their teeth out of each other’s necks and stared at the ship.

Here they are not lying in bed, but they are nestled together like spoons, necking or snogging.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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In previous discussions, someone (aldi?) has reliably quoted a line from Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, in which a character is musing over a secluded locale where he and his now-wife used “to spoon, and on one memorable occasion, fork.”

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Posted: 25 April 2017 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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“By the light of the silvery moon, I want to spoon, to my honey I’ll croon love’s tune”.... This popular song was sung more than 50 years ago by such singers as Bing Crosby, Al Jolson.......... I don’t know if the term “spoon” can yet justifiably be called “hopelessly outdated”

(Edit) Most of the citations for “sport”, both antique and modern, have a male sexist flavour.....

[ Edited: 25 April 2017 01:31 PM by lionello ]
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Posted: 25 April 2017 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m sorry, but I suspect the vast majority of people alive today (including this senior citizen) actually do consider popular music from 50 years ago “hopelessly outdated.”

People have heard of the song, maybe, but to use those words in that context? No way - I’m with LH on this one. No one spoons in June by the light of the moon and they haven’t for decades.

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Posted: 26 April 2017 02:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’ve come across spoony in the flirtatious sense Dave mentioned with the sense of besotted…

adjective spoonier, spooniest
1.
foolishly or stupidly amorous
noun (pl) spoonies
2.
a fool or silly person, esp one in love

The young fellow was delighted—conceited—triumphant—and in one word, a spoony.
The History of Pendennis William Makepeace Thackeray

Word Origin and History for spoony
adj.
1812, “foolish;” 1836, “sentimental,” from spoon (n.) in sense “silly person” + -y (2).

As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods. They kill us for their sport.

[ Edited: 26 April 2017 02:59 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 26 April 2017 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dr. Techie - 25 April 2017 11:22 AM

In previous discussions, someone (aldi?) has reliably quoted a line from Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, in which a character is musing over a secluded locale where he and his now-wife used “to spoon, and on one memorable occasion, fork.”

No, not me. I’ve always had a blind spot for Pratchett among sf/fantasy authors. My tastes in sf humour had already been formed by the likes of Sheckley, Laumer, Lafferty, Vance before I encountered Pratchett and I just never warmed to him.

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Posted: 26 April 2017 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My tastes are much like aldi’s; I recognize that Pratchett is catnip to millions, but not to me.  I did enjoy the “fork” line, though.

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Posted: 26 April 2017 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Many years ago, when I was a student at Liverpool University, I lodged for a while in the house of a very large lady whose inappropriate name was Mrs. Little.  One day at Sunday lunch, I dropped a fork on to the floor. Mrs. Little said to me “A fork on the floor means a visit from a young lady!” I kept my own counsel, but I remember thinking I’d much rather she’d said “A visit from a young lady means a fork on the floor”.....

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Posted: 28 April 2017 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I thought the Discworld conceit was clever and enjoyed the first book in the series (The Colour of Magic, a patch-up of separately published stories that parodied some famous fantasy series) but lost interested as he extended it.  However, Good Omens was not part of the Discworld universe and was, IMHO, much better (possibly because it was written in collaboration with Neil Gaiman).

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