Salon has published an excerpt from The Vulgar Tongue: Green’s History of Slang by lexicographer Jonathon Green. While ancient sex slang is sure to elicit a few giggles, Green also explores the deeper implications of our ability to dance around the issue:
The question, however, is not whether or what, but why. Why slang has taken it upon itself to create quite so many variations on the theme. The answer would seem to be, as it is in other multi-synonymic areas such as crime and drugs, the need for secrecy. Or in this case the acknowledgement of what, at least directly, cannot be said (particularly in public) or written for publication.