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View Diary: Origins of English: Some Rare Words (185 comments)

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  •  My all time favorite, merkin (6+ / 0-)

    First learned this word in artillery school at Ft Sill OK. It is a swab or mop used to clean a muzzle loading cannon after firing in order to prevent premature discharge when loading the next powder charge. The secondary meaning is a female pubic wig. There is a movie from the late sixties "Can Heronymous Merkin Forget Mercy Humpe And Find True Happiness?" Movie wasn't all that great but the title made up for it!

    •  I learned "merkin" in an SF story (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, foresterbob, blue muon

      The Barbie Murders by John Varley.  Imagine a society of people willingly turning themselves into identical, androgynous Barbie-doll-like twins, then having joined that society, the kinkier members secretly meet for sex play, which involves dressing like default males and females. Including a pubic wig, because the Barbies had no body hair and no genitalia.

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