As society evolves, so do our curse words. Here’s how some of the most famous ones developed — and a few new ones
Some fascinating stuff here. But this bit brought me up short.
Though Victorian people were swearing in much the same way that we do today, not all the bad words of the time are as familiar as fucking bitch. Many of these words rich and strange are not swearwords per se but terms for topics so esoterically taboo that they would never have come up in polite conversation. In his 1785 “Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” Francis Grose includes to huffle, which is “a piece of bestiality too filthy for explanation.” (The 1788 and 1823 editions decide that discretion is the better part of valor and fail to mention the bestial practice at all.) Grose also lists “to bagpipe, a lascivious practice too indecent for explanation.” Even Farmer and Henley, brave champions of obscenity who boldly explained fucking, refuse to define to bagpipe in their dictionary — they simply repeat Grose’s definition manqué. One hopes for something really spectacular from these words, but they are simply the Victorian version of blow job, slang for fellatio, a practice evidently much more shocking one or two centuries ago. Another popular Victorian word for this lascivity was gamahuche. It derives from French, so it probably was a euphemism used in order to lift the tone of huffle and bagpipe out of the gutter. It more properly means “mouth on genitals,” as it can be used for both fellatio and cunnilingus.
"Huffle…", though. Oh dear. (Leaving us with the terrible possibility that in some circumstances, "hufflepuff" is a verb.)