Oh my! What occupy used to mean may make you blush

From Portland to St. Louis, the Occupy protests have been gaining momentum and continue to be front-page news. The protests sent us to the dictionary (where else?) to look up the etymology of the word “occupy.” We found an unexpected obsolete definition. The term occupy formerly meant something very different than its current common meaning. From the early 1500s to the 1800s, occupy was used to refer to sexual relations, as in “to occupy a woman” as defined in the Lexicon Balatronicum in 1811.

When occupy was used in that sense, it was a euphemism, also called a dysphemism. Learn more about the origins of euphemisms here.

In fact, many words in common parlance have shed their sexual implications over time. Sex is simultaneously very taboo and very common, so it’s no wonder that countless words have been used to stand in for carnal knowledge. The most commonly used sexual euphemisms today are sleep with, make loveand the simple do. You’ve probably heard one of the oldest ones, too: to know. Today, the word is often is used in the phrase “to know in a biblical sense.” It comes from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 4 when “the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived…” Throughout the Old Testament the word know is used synonymously with copulate. That’s a pretty dramatic implication for a small and common word.

Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton all used play to imply sex. Shakespeare was a master of unexpected turns of phrase to describe copulation. In Hamlet, Ophelia upbraids Hamlet by telling him “Before you tumbled me, you promis’d me to wed.” The Bard uses numerous word plays to describe sexual relations and bawdy topics. Here are only a few of his saucy synonyms: business, feat, grinding, juggling, possessing and praying. Thomas Wolfe used jazz as a euphemism for sex in his 1929 book Look Homeward, Angel. The stiff political word ratify was used to refer to consummation as early as 1561 and as recently as 1974.

Learn about other tricky words that conceal their true meaning here.

Phrases also have developed to covertly refer to illicit relations, as in to shack up. Though it sounds modern and colloquial, the phrase to knock referring to pregnancy dates back to the early 1600s. John Steinbeck used a variation of the phrase in In Dubious Battle, saying, “Sooner or later some girl’d get knocked higher than a kite.”

We encounter these euphemisms on a daily basis. Rather than make us blush, they should remind us of how supple and versatile our language is.

Parrish goes west, inks one-year deal with San Diego ; Set five Bills punt-return marks

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY) April 4, 2012 | STAFF; WIRE REPORTS Roscoe Parrish is going all the way to San Diego.

The oft-injured receiver/return specialist who holds five Buffalo Bills for punt returns agreed to a one-year deal with the Chargers on Tuesday.

Parrish, 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, has had trouble staying healthy the last two seasons but is still one of the more feared punt returners in the league.

Parrish’s 12.1 yard average per punt return ranks sixth in NFL history. Among active punt returners, only the Chicago Bears’ Devin Hester (12.9) averages more yards per return. Of his 11 career TDs, Parrish has recorded three of them on punts.

But he’s had issues staying healthy. Last year, he was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury after just two games. During his breakout season in 2010 when he showed he could be a reliable slot receiver, a broken wrist ended his season after just eight games in which he had 33 catches for a career-best 400 yards and two TDs. go to site new nfl uniforms

He is the third receiver and second return specialist signed during the offseason by San Diego — joining Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal.

—– Appeals Thursday NEW YORK — Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt are set to have their NFL appeals heard Thursday regarding the punishment they’ve received for their roles in New Orleans’ bounty system.

Aiello also said former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has since taken a job as defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, did not appeal his indefinite suspension.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Payton for all of next season. Loomis was suspended for eight games, Vitt for six, and the Saints were fined $500,000 and docked two second-round draft picks.

The unusually tough penalties stemmed from an NFL probe which concluded that from 2009-11 the Saints offered improper cash bonuses for big hits that either knocked opponents out of games or left them needing help off of the field.

Payton’s suspension — due to start last Sunday — has been on hold pending his appeal, allowing him to get in a few extra days of work as he rushes to create a plan that’s as detailed as possible for the Saints’ 2012 season.

Beyond the punishment for Saints coaches and executives, the NFL still has to determine whether players who were involved in the bounty program will also be disciplined. web site new nfl uniforms

Speaking at a press event Tuesday for new NFL uniforms created by Nike, Goodell said the NFL met with the players’ association representatives on Monday to discuss the league’s investigation of the Saints.

Goodell added that he expected to speak with NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith again as soon as today.

“I hope to be able to make some decisions soon,” Goodell said.

According to the league, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any New Orleans player who sidelined Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during the 2010 NFC championship game. No other players involved have been publicly identified by the NFL.

Saints running back Pierre Thomas, who was modeling his team’s new uniform at the NFL’s fashion show, called possible player suspensions by the league “ridiculous.” —– Fairley arrested MOBILE, Ala. — Authorities say Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley has been arrested in Mobile, Ala. on a charge of possessing marijuana.

Mobile police spokeswoman Ashley Rains says Fairley was arrested Tuesday after citizens called to complain that his Cadillac Escalade was speeding through a lower-middle class neighborhood.

Rains says officers smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle and found a small amount in an ashtray. Fairley and a passenger were booked into Mobile’s metro jail facility and released a short time later on $1,000 bail.

Fairley was a standout at Auburn University and the Lions’ first-round draft pick.

The Lions said in a statement they are aware of Fairley’s arrest. The statement says the charges are not consistent with the team’s standards for player behavior and that the team is disappointed.

—– Surgery for Harvin EDINA, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin will have minor shoulder surgery soon to address a nagging injury he played with last season.

Harvin revealed the news via Twitter on Monday night, and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier confirmed it on Tuesday while attending a speaking event for his close friend, former NFL coach Tony Dungy. Frazier declined to specify which shoulder was hurt, but he said Harvin sprained the AC joint during the season.

Harvin felt some pain in recent weeks while weightlifting.


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