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10 Historical Euphemisms for Infidelity
Mental Floss ^ | November 3, 2013 | Adrienne Crezo

Posted on 11/03/2013 10:35:02 PM PST by Slings and Arrows

Here are 10 historical slang terms and euphemisms for infidelity that you probably won’t see in headlines today.

1. Carrying tackle: Used primarily in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a man having an indiscreet affair was said to be carrying tackle. Tackle was also used to describe flashy or expensive clothing.

2. Groping for trout in a peculiar river: A Shakespearean joke used in Measure for Measure, where groping describes a method of fishing by feeling for them in the water with the hands; peculiar was already in use to describe a mistress, much in the same way a cat or an owl might be a witch’s peculiar.

3. Pour treasure into foreign laps: Another from Shakespeare, this time from Othello, wherein the character Emilia attributes adultery by wives to the misbehavior of their husbands: [They] “slack their duties, and pour our treasures into foreign laps.”

4. Left-handed honeymoon: In use as early as the 1920s or 30s, the saying in full is “He/She is on a left-handed honeymoon with someone else’s wife/husband.”

5. To cut/take a slice: In modern parlance, the adage goes, “It’s safe to take a slice because a cut loaf won’t miss one,” but the idea of women as neatly apportioned loaves of bread is at least 400 years old: a notable early appearance is found in The Tinker of Turvey, a collection of Canterbury tales dating from 1590.

6. Wife in watercolors: This Regency era phrase is less about describing the beauty of the woman you married as a work of art than it is about the easy solubility of water-based paint. A “wife in watercolors” was a mistress, because unlike an actual marriage, the relationship was easily dissolved. Likewise, “painting a wife in watercolor” was a polite euphemism for a man having a discreet affair.

7. Off the rez: Originally, “off the rez” or “off the reservation” was cowboy slang for a person out of his or her element or in unfamiliar territory. Later, the term was used to describe a person who had gone insane or was in extremely familiar territory with a person to whom he or she was not married.

8. War on two fronts: If love is a battlefield, adultery can only complicate (extra)marital strategy. The phrase has long been in use for actual military action, but entered American slang euphemistically after World War II and was bandied about a bit during the Lewinsky scandal.

9. Hiking the Appalachian trail: We can thank former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for turning a legitimate test of endurance into slang for sneaking away to meet a mistress. When Sanford disappeared in 2009 for nearly a week, no one (including his wife) had any idea where he’d gone. His spokesperson reported that he wasn’t missing, only hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when Sanford reappeared, he admitted he had gone to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair.

10. Yarding on: Beat slang gave the lexicon "backdoor" and "backyard" men and women in the 1950s (though the terms were probably around for a few decades before they adopted them), and naturally a verb form followed, as in “The scandal broke when emails revealed that General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell were yarding on their spouses with each other.”

Sources: 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811/2003; A Glossary of Shakespeare’s Sexual Language, Gordon Williams, 1997/2006; Westopedia: Language and Lore of Real America, Win Blevins, 2012; Dictionary of American Slang 4e, Barbara Ann Kipfer and Robert L. Chapman, 2010; The American Slang Dictionary, Annotated. James Maitland, 1891/2007; Straight From the Fridge, Dad. Max Decharne, 2000; Merriam-Webster’s Book of Word Histories, 1991; The Best Guide to Euphemism. Nigel Rees, 2006; Urban Dictionary: Freshest Street Slang Defined. Aaron Peckham, 2012.

This post originally appeared in 2012.


TOPICS: Humor; Society
KEYWORDS: napl
You can understand why I posted this on a politics forum.
1 posted on 11/03/2013 10:35:02 PM PST by Slings and Arrows
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To: Slings and Arrows; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; ...
They forgot "Mentoring the Intern."


2 posted on 11/03/2013 10:36:02 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows
You can understand why I posted this on a politics forum.

Because we're screwed?

3 posted on 11/03/2013 10:41:03 PM PST by IncPen (When you start talking about what we 'should' have, you've made the case for the Second Amendment)
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To: Slings and Arrows

11. “I did not have relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”


4 posted on 11/03/2013 10:45:19 PM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: Slings and Arrows

Cause if I’m looking to “carry some tackle” I’d like it to be with a dude who won’t cancel out my vote?


5 posted on 11/03/2013 10:55:28 PM PST by ToastedHead
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To: Slings and Arrows

Smoking a cigar.


6 posted on 11/03/2013 10:55:59 PM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Darksheare
Smoking a cigar.

Pre- or post-human humidor?

7 posted on 11/03/2013 11:07:09 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: IncPen

Over and over. With no lube.


8 posted on 11/03/2013 11:07:45 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

9 posted on 11/03/2013 11:46:28 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Slings and Arrows

Wearing the horns.

10 posted on 11/03/2013 11:51:46 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Slings and Arrows

Carlos Danger and *grown apart*.

*Your place or mine?*


11 posted on 11/04/2013 12:28:10 AM PST by Daffynition (*$17,000,000,000,000* Fear the beards! GO SOX!)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Another mule kickin’ in your stall?


12 posted on 11/04/2013 3:18:09 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: ToastedHead
Cause if I’m looking to “carry some tackle” I’d like it to be with a dude who won’t cancel out my vote?

Sure hoping you're a woman. :^O

13 posted on 11/04/2013 3:49:51 AM PST by raybbr (I weep over my sons' future in this Godforsaken country.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I find this very “strange.” (Get it? Strange?)


14 posted on 11/04/2013 3:50:33 AM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: ToastedHead

nully *waving*


15 posted on 11/04/2013 7:42:10 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Slings and Arrows

“Whose bed have your boots been under?”


16 posted on 11/04/2013 8:15:19 AM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: Tax-chick

That would be a good title for a folk song.


17 posted on 11/04/2013 8:34:07 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

That’s what I thought, too.


18 posted on 11/04/2013 8:40:20 AM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: raybbr

Yes, of the six available choices of sex, I consider myself the “woman” variety.


19 posted on 11/04/2013 9:16:44 AM PST by ToastedHead
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To: null and void

Hi. I am available if you have treasure you’d like to pour into my lap. Be forewarned, however, I intend to take half when the game is over.


20 posted on 11/04/2013 9:19:16 AM PST by ToastedHead
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To: ToastedHead

No thanks, I’ve already been divorced once.


21 posted on 11/04/2013 9:55:41 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: null and void

Yeah, I gotta pass too. I prefer to be the FIRST ex-wife. The prize money is the best.


22 posted on 11/04/2013 10:36:31 AM PST by ToastedHead
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To: Tax-chick; Slings and Arrows

Too late - shania Twain has already recorded that song , and slings, did you really suggest it would be a good folk song, not country song? Oy.


23 posted on 11/04/2013 10:47:56 AM PST by dmz
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To: dmz

I did. Has a Irish/Scottish feel to it. Did not know it was a Shania Twain song.


24 posted on 11/04/2013 10:57:15 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: dmz; Slings and Arrows

I knew it had been recorded, too. I am somewhat older than Shania Twain, bless her heart.


25 posted on 11/04/2013 11:23:52 AM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: Tax-chick

I knew it had been recorded, too. I am somewhat older than Shania Twain, bless her heart.

<><><

She’s pushing 50, born in 1965.


26 posted on 11/04/2013 12:16:13 PM PST by dmz
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To: Slings and Arrows

She may not have written it, may have just recorded it.

So many of the pop country stars these days get their songs from the Nashville Songwriting Consortium (just made that name up, but it aptly describes the boardroom songwriting methodology).


27 posted on 11/04/2013 12:18:33 PM PST by dmz
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To: dmz

Hmmph. Maybe I just look older.


28 posted on 11/04/2013 1:03:09 PM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: Tax-chick

Hmmph. Maybe I just look older.

<><><><><><>

OK, that was funny.

a) I bet she’s had work done
b) it’s her job to look hot, so she can afford to have a nutritionist, a personal trainer and oodles of time for the gym


29 posted on 11/04/2013 1:45:54 PM PST by dmz
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To: dmz

I was born in 1966 ... and in spite of my letting my hair go gray and not working out, I still have my husband. He’s good-looking, too!

I always thought Shania Twain was talented, as well as pretty, but I didn’t like the direction she went with her music.


30 posted on 11/04/2013 1:56:34 PM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: dmz; Slings and Arrows

According to Wikipedia, Shania was the co-writer of “Whose Bed ...” with Mutt Lange, to whom she was then married. Same with “Any Man of Mine,” a stupid song with a catchy beat.


31 posted on 11/04/2013 2:00:09 PM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: Tax-chick

I’m guessing hubby did not marry you for your hair color. My wife finally stopped putting herself throught the cost and the chemicals of hair coloring about 10 years ago. We’re both 55.


32 posted on 11/04/2013 2:13:55 PM PST by dmz
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To: dmz

My hair was never all that ... brown and frizzy.


33 posted on 11/04/2013 2:16:12 PM PST by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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