further adventures in foul period language

My apologies for continuing to discuss profanity here, but it’s just funny.

New seventeenth-century insult for my vocabulary: “windfucker.” Which, bizarrely enough, was apparently a northern term for a kestrel. (They also called it a fuckwind.) And then it got borrowed as an insult. From which I conclude that the seventeenth-century mind? Really not so different from the twenty-first century mind.

This is why I should not be let within three miles of the OED historical thesaurus. It’s bad enough when I find these things by accident, looking stuff up in the ordinary OED; if I had the thesaurus to play with, I’d never get the book written.

Anyway, now I want to revise Ashes to put the term in there somewhere. Antony probably wouldn’t say it, but Jack totally would.

0 Responses to “further adventures in foul period language”

  1. diatryma

    This is why I have described you as a God of Research.

  2. lindenfoxcub

    That actually totally makes sense, considering a kestrel is capable of hovering in a strong enough wind. They’ll face the wind and get enough lift to stay in about one place, using their tail to keep balanced. They do it hunting. The tail movements, from the video I saw once, could totally be the reason for the name.


    first video on here shows it, in the shots where you can see, the bird’s head isn’t moving at all, completely stationary, it’s because the bird’s actually hovering in the wind, hunting.

  3. stormsdotter

    In ancient Rome, “clitoris” was the dirtiest word.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m kind of fascinated by what’s considered vulgar, depending on time and place. For quite a while now I’ve found it very telling (and when you get down to it, encouraging) that our current American society finds sexual, scatological, and blasphemous speech less and less offensive, but slurs against particular groups more and more so.

  4. gothicsparrow

    Cue me sitting here, giggling.

Comments are closed.