Actually, I think Leviticus is against it too

I got my hands on a 1921 book about Japanese words for "prostitute", and upon reading it discovered that pretty much every word in the Japanese lexicon has been used to mean "prostitute" at some point. English translations of some of these words would include:

  • Duck
  • Pumpkin
  • Child
  • Phantom Wife
  • Teamaker
  • Werebird
  • Crossroads Queen
  • Monkey
  • Rice Seller
  • Lionette

I also learnt the word ラシャメン女郎, rashamen jorou, "felt/cotton hooker", which meant a hooker whose clientele were Dutch, back in the Dutch Learning days. Apparently those Dutch folks wore a lot of felt and cotton, and this was remarkable and bizarre because who would mix felt and cotton?!

Popularity factor: 8


I always had this terrible feeling that everything I said in Japanese was some sort of grave insult but now I'm certain of it.


My personal favorites are Phantom Wife and Werebird.

This Dutch thing...do you suppose it relates to the whole "dutch wife" terminology? I recently learned that's what the Japanese call a blow-up doll.


Meanwhile, in speaking with the latest love interest, I caused shock and amazement at the ability of English to express the concept of masturbation.


Werebird, hands down.

And then up and down a bit more? Roy, it's probably like Eskimos & words for snow.


Ssh! Don't let the Language Log people hear you! They write whole books denouncing that stereotype!

Morgan: Yeah, to think of all the times I walked into the staffroom calling my principal "Mr Pumpkin" and my supervisor "Phantom Wife"... how embarrassing.

("Dutch wife" comes from English!)


Trust me: one thing that can never be lived down is introducing yourself as your school's English club's anus.


Ron: scatology and you. Gee.




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