Too Much Fun With The OED


It looks like Nick Martens over at The Bygone Bureau is having too much fun with his OED subscription.

“To those who would say that there is nothing “secret” about the publicly available Oxford English Dictionary, or that browsing said publication’s website for an hour hardly constitutes a “history,” I have prepared the following response:


Citing usage from 1949, the OED calls this mark the dog’s bollocks, which it defines as, “typogr. a colon followed by a dash, regarded as forming a shape resembling the male sexual organs.” This is why I love scrounging around the linguistic scrap heap that is the OED. I always come across a little gold. And by “gold,” I mean, “vulgar, 60-year-old emoticons.””

That’s pretty good, but here’s my favorite excerpt from his essay, because I’m in a dick joke kind of mood today.

To beat fat, 1683, “If a Press-man Takes too much Inck with his Balls, he Beats Fat.””


There’s more, and I mean lots more, in the article. (via Kottke)

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →